Afghan vote recount would take six weeks: Election Body

Last Updated: Saturday, September 19, 2009 - 19:22

Kabul: A ballot recount ordered by a
UN-backed election body in Afghanistan would take one and a
half months to complete, pushing back any second round of
voting, a senior poll official said on Saturday.

The Election Complaints Commission (ECC) has identified
more than 2,500 polling stations out of 24,183 that opened on
August 20 where "clear and convincing" indications of fraud
mean an audit and recount is needed.
While auditing is underway, recounting has not yet
started as the ECC locks horns with the government-appointed
Independent Election Commission (IEC), which organised the
election and has been accused of bias toward incumbent
President Hamid Karzai.

"The concern we raised to the ECC decision is that it
includes all 34 provinces, and it will take at least
one-and-a-half months` time," Daoud Ali Najafi, IEC chief
electoral officer, said.

"That`s too long and if we have a run-off, then it is too
late," he said.
With all the votes counted, Karzai looks on track for
re-election with nearly 55 percent of the vote while his
nearest rival Abdullah Abdullah is trailing with 27.8 percent. Turnout was a meagre 38.7 percent.

But if a large number of ballots are thrown out by any
ECC investigation, it could push Karzai`s lead to below the
required 50 percent plus one vote, triggering a run-off with
Abdullah.

Bureau Report



First Published: Saturday, September 19, 2009 - 19:22

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