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Fraud concerns mount ahead of Afghan vote

Sept. 13, 2010 at 11:15 AM   |   Comments

KABUL, Afghanistan, Sept. 13 (UPI) -- Fraud and vote-tampering are having a dramatic impacts on the expectations for parliamentary elections in Afghanistan, election observers said.

Afghanistan is gearing up for elections for the Wolesi Jirga, the lower house of parliament.

Stephen Carter, an election observer working in Afghanistan since 2001, said tampering and fraud were cause for concern for next weekend's voting, London's Telegraph newspaper reports.

"In the last election a significant proportion of voters were disqualified and this time it won't be any less," he was quoted as saying. "There is an electoral process going on which is more about the market place for ballot rigging and how effective one can be at organizing fraud."

Election officials on the ground said many Afghan individuals are offered as much as $20 for their votes.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai secured a second term in office, though rampant fraud tainted much of the election.

Issues of fraud in Afghanistan are now subject to provincial oversight.

The parliamentary vote was delayed from its original May vote in order to address concerns from last year's controversial presidential election.

There are more than 2,400 candidates competing Saturday for 249 seats in the Wolesi Jirga.

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