Afghanistan tackling almost 4,000 poll complaints

Afghan`s electoral watchdog said it was dealing with almost 4,000 poll complaints.

Kabul: Afghanistan`s electoral watchdog
said on Wednesday it was dealing with almost 4,000 complaints over
the parliamentary election, which has been tainted by
accusations of fraud and Taliban intimidation.

Election officials said 4.3 million Afghans voted on
Saturday despite insurgent threats and attacks, in their
second parliamentary poll since the 2001 US-led invasion
overthrew the hardline Taliban regime.

Counting has been completed in most of the country`s
34 provinces and partial results -- subject to change as
allegations of multiple and proxy voting are investigated --
are being sent to Kabul for validation.

An announcement on preliminary results is expected on
October 9 with final results due October 30, according to the
Independent Election Commission (IEC).

The IEC says some fraud is "inevitable" but has
affirmed its commitment to working with the Electoral
Complaints Commission (ECC) "to eliminate the effect
from the final results insofar as possible".

The ECC said it had received a total of 2,064
complaints relating to irregularities on polling day after a
Tuesday deadline for submissions expired.

ECC commissioner and spokesman Ahmad Zia Rafaat told
AFP that 1,700 official complaints had been adjudicated
relating to the pre-election process that began in April --
bringing the total number so far to 3,764.

Afghans can register complaints about any part of the
electoral process within three days of an alleged
irregularity, and many more are expected over problems with
the post-election process, such as vote counting.

"We keep receiving complaints every day," said Rafaat.
More than a million ballots were found to be
fraudulent in the August 2009 poll that returned President
Hamid Karzai for a second five-year term.

More than 2,500 candidates stood for the 249 seats in
parliament`s lower house, or Wolesi Jirga, but at least 1,300
polling centres were unable to open because security could not
be guaranteed.

Afghanistan`s main election observation body, the Free
and Fair Election Foundation (FEFA) fielded 7,000 observers,
and detailed thousands of vote day irregularities, including
use of fake voter cards and bias of election workers.

The Asia Network for Free Elections (ANFREL) released
a report today saying the election was "marred by a series of
security threats and misconduct" including political
interference by local strong men in provinces.


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