KABUL, Afghanistan, Oct. 20 (UPI) -- Afghan's Independent Election Commission uncovered significant fraud in September elections for the Wolesi Jirga, the U.N. mission in Afghanistan said.
More than 2,500 candidates competed for the 249 seats in the Wolesi Jirga, the lower house of parliament. The number of women vying for the estimated 64 seats reserved for women rose from 328 in 2005 to 406 for the elections.
The IEC released its preliminary vote count Wednesday but said it decided to throw out around 1.3 million ballots -- about 25 percent of the total cast -- because of irregularities, fraud and tampering, The Wall Street Journal reports.
Staffan de Mistura, the U.N. special envoy to Afghanistan, said in a statement Wednesday that the IEC should be commended for its work to ensure the voting was transparent.
"The number of votes invalidated and identified by the IEC point to considerable fraud and electoral irregularities on Election Day," he added.
Election observers told the Journal the level of fraud wasn't as widespread as was the case in presidential elections last year.
The Journal added that the Taliban tried to disrupt the vote while armed bandits stuffed ballots in parts of the country.
De Mistura said work now heads to the Electoral Complaints Commission, which will review the IEC's findings on election violations.
"The electoral process is not over and the results are not yet final," he said.