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FRAUD CHARGES IMPERIL AFGHAN ELECTIONS

By   /   June 30, 2014  /   No Comments

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Afghan Presidential candidate, Abdullah Abdullah. (photo: bbc.co.uk)

Afghan Presidential candidate, Abdullah Abdullah. (photo: bbc.co.uk)

The Afghan elections, already a mess amid violence and accusations of widespread voter fraud, has become much messier.

A statement from the campaign of Abdullah Abdullah, a leading Presidential candidate, stated that Mr. Abudullah would not participate with the Afghan election body, the “Independent Election Commission,” as it recounts votes from last month’s Presidential election.

“From today onward, we reject all the decisions and activities of the Independent Election Commission, which will not have any legal value anyway,” said Baryalai Arsalai, Mr. Abdullah’s campaign manager, was quoted in a New York Times report. “They have no intention to assess the fraudulent votes and separate the dirty votes from the clean votes.”

Two weeks ago, more than seven million Afghan voters voted in a run-off election between Mr. Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani.  The seven million figure was substantially higher than the first round of voting, where xx million voted in the Afghan election.

In the runoff, many of the votes came from regions of the country that supported Mr. Ghani.  In those regions, voter turnout doubled, even tripled, according to the Times’ report.

Abdullah, who lost the 2009 Presidential election, objected to the current vote count right after the run-off election, accusing Mr. Ghani and the election commission of extensive fraud. Having lost the 2009 presidential election in a race marked by such fraud, Mr. Abdullah was primed to speak out this time around.

Abdullah’s campaign has also charged that  one of the top election officials was acting with members of  Ghani’s campaign team to stuff ballots and place Ghani supportive officials in various provinces.

He has also charged that President Hamid Karzai is also part of the conspiracy to prevent his election, along with Ghani and the election commission.

The United States has weighed in tepidly.

“The United States wishes to reiterate the need for both campaigns to continue to work with the Afghan electoral bodies, which have the responsibility of administering and adjudicating this electoral process,” Jen Psaki, the State Department spokeswoman, said in a statement after the June, 18 run off election. “We also call upon these institutions to provide assurances that concerns will be given careful and impartial attention.”

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