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Concerns over fraud precede Afghan election

As Saturday's Afghan presidential elections near, candidates are expressing concern about fraud. A recent survey by the Free and Fair Election Forum of Afghanistan found that only 25 percent of Afghans expect a fraud-free election.
By JC Finley   |   April 2, 2014 at 12:28 PM   |   Comments

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April 2 (UPI) -- As Afghanistan's presidential elections near, candidates are expressing concerns about fraud.

Chairman of the Independent Election Commission Yusuf Nuristani said "Some of the candidates are issuing statements in their public rallies that my only rival is corruption ... This mistrust is not going to help, instead they should tell their followers: 'Stay away from fraud and don't let others commit fraud, be vigilant, open your eyes, come out in large numbers for voting.'"

A recent survey by the Free and Fair Election Forum of Afghanistan found that only 25 percent of Afghans expect a fraud-free election.

The 2009 presidential election was rife with fraud, with 1 million votes disqualified.

Nicholas Haysom, deputy head of the UN in Afghanistan, acknowledged that "Most of the candidates have confided that they don't expect an absolutely fraud-free election, what they want to know is that the results reflect the will of the people."

The focus, Haysom stated, will be "on how extensive is that fraud, whether it impacts the result and is it capable of being excised. That is what we need to reassure them, but we want to have an election that is manifestly better than the last election, which means less fraud."

In an effort to reduce fraud, votes will be tallied twice by two separate teams at the ballot sites with copies posted outside the ballot stations, in the ballot box, and sent to Kabul. More than 22,000 election monitors from the campaigns and 1,500 independent observers will be stationed at more than 6,000 polling stations across Afghanistan.

The presidential election is set for April 5.


[The Guardian]

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