Afghan election ‘less fraudulent’ than 2009


KABUL: The election to choose a successor to Afghan President Hamid Karzai appeared “less fraudulent” than the scandal-tainted 2009 vote, poll officials said on Monday, despite complaints being made against all the candidates. More than seven million people defied bad weather and Taliban threats of violence to vote in Saturday’s first round of the election, earning praise from world leaders. Ahead of the vote there were fears that a repeat of the massive fraud which blighted Karzai’s re-election in 2009 would undermine the winner’s legitimacy at a testing time for the war-torn country. There were no large-scale attacks on polling day, but a roadside bomb on Monday killed 13 civilians in southern Afghanistan, underlining the continuing unrest that the incoming president will have to tackle as NATO troops pull out. Election Complaints Commission (ECC) chief Abdul Satar Saadat said that despite 122 fraud-related complaints against presidential candidates, the 2014 vote was better than its predecessor. “We believe this election has been less fraudulent compared to the previous one,” he said. “It is still too soon to say how serious the complaints are, but there have been complaints about all eight candidates.” The ECC has received a total of around 1,400 complaints about Saturday’s vote, but not all were supported by evidence. Saadat said the majority of complaints were about shortages of ballot papers — a problem that became clear on polling day, as some voters went from station to station in a fruitless attempt to cast ballots. 

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