Afghan legislative election to come out with disputatious outcome

08:32, September 20, 2010      

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As millions of Afghan men and women dared Taliban threats on Saturday and voted to have an elected and potent parliament, many voters as well as candidates are doubtful about the fair outcome, citing mismanagements reported on the day.

The second Afghan parliamentary election since the collapse of Taliban regime in late 2001 was held amid tight security on Sept. 18 to elect members of the 249-seat Wolesi Jirga or Lower House of parliament for the next five years.

However, both candidates and voters in many constituencies, have complained of widespread irregularities that can affect the transparency of the historic balloting.

The bold irregularities, have been reported by complainants include using washable ink in marking voter's fingers, using faked voting cards, shortage of ballot papers and influencing presiding officers at polling stations.

According to candidates, the supposedly indelible ink used in marking voters' finger was easily washed off enabling voters to vote again.

Days before voting, a contester for parliamentary election Nazari Pariani showed a faked card, saying thousands of such cards had been printed by certain elements to influence the parliamentary polls for their favor.

In talks with Xinhua a day after voting on Sunday, Pariani suspects the fairness of voting.

"Voting for parliamentary election over peacefully on Saturday but with widespread and even organized fraud," Pariani a candidate from Kabul constituency observed in talks with Xinhua.

A day after balloting, several people from 13th precinct of capital city Kabul in talks with a popular local television channel Tolo complained over what they described mismanagement and irregularities in their polling station.

Several persons, according to officials, have been arrested in the southern Helmand province on charge of involvement in irregularities to affect elections' transparency.

More than 50 persons including 17 election workers, according to police chief of Logar province Ghulam Mustafa Mohsini had been detained on charge of attempting to influence the transparency of the voting in favor of certain candidates.

Pariani was of the view that irregularities and fraud was enough widespread to undermine the election results.

In several polling stations, the voters complained that lack of ballot papers had deprived many of people throughout the country of their right for voting.

Not ruling out the mismanagement in the voting process, spokesman for the Electoral Complaint Commission (ECC) Zia Rafat admitted Saturday that "30 weak points have been seen on the election day."

Election body's chief Fazal Ahmad Manawi in his first press conference hours after holding election confirmed the irregularities in some extent, saying it is too small to affect election's results.

The election body chief also asserted that the most common form of the fraud reported on the election day was detection of supposedly indelible ink that according to some voters was washable from the finger of voters facilitating some to vote again.

The turnout of 11.4 million eligible voters was 40 percent and the percentage could be changed, as the vote counting process has not been completed, Mawanai said.

Meantime, opposition leader and president Hamid Karzai's main challenger in last year's presidential election, according to media reports, has accused the election body's officials of backing certain candidates in the parliamentary race.

The result of Afghanistan's second fraud-tinted presidential election, held on August 20, 2009 was announced nine weeks later on November 2, 2009 amid allegations and counter allegations when Abdullah quitted the runoff.

More than 2500 people including over 400 women with different political and ethnic affiliations had contested the parliamentary elections. With this perspective announcing the result of the parliamentary elections would take weeks if not months.

Source: Xinhua


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