Afghans Bar 83 Polling Station Tallies

An independent election watchdog in Afghanistan on Thursday threw out partial results from three Afghan provinces, citing clear evidence of fraud.

The independent Election Complaint Commission said it uncovered “clear and convincing evidence” of fraud during its examination of the Aug. 20 presidential contest.

The ECC said the evidence was gathered from ballot boxes and forms accompanying the ballots. It reported additional evidence of illegal counting and casting of the ballots.

The ECC announced the ballots cast in 51 polling stations in Kandahar, 27 polling stations in Ghazni and five polling stations in the province of Paktika are invalidated and must be excluded from the vote count.

Not counting the invalidated stations, the Independent Election Committee reports incumbent President Hamid Karzai took 87.7 percent of the votes in Kandahar and 91.9 percent of the votes in Paktika. Former Prime Minister Ramazan Bashardost took 46.6 percent of the vote tally in Ghazni province, barely beating out Karzai, who took 42.4 percent.

The international community heaped praise on Afghanistan for its ability to carry out its second-ever democratic election and its first self-run vote. Allegations of fraud surfaced almost immediately, however.

With more than 90 percent of the total vote counted, Karzai leads with 54.1 percent of the vote over his closest rival, former Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah, who took 28.3 percent in the national tally.

Official results were expected Sept. 17, though the fraud allegations and subsequent investigations may cause delays.


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