EU sees "worrying" cases of fraud in Afghan vote
Fraudulent voter registration cards, double voting, proxy voting, misapplied procedures, intimidation and disruptions by agents.
KABUL, Sept 30 (Reuters) - There were worrying cases of fraud in Afghanistan's landmark legislative elections this month, a European Union observation mission said on Friday.
With counting from the Sept. 18 elections still going on, a statement from the EU Election Observation Mission said its observers had reported cases of fraud, such as ballot stuffing, proxy voting and possible intimidation of voters. But they did not appear to have occurred on a nationwide scale.
It called the cases "worrying", and while saying that they did not appear to have occurred on a nationwide scale, stressed the need for the U.N.-Afghan election administration to handle them "in a transparent and effective way which would ensure the integrity of the electoral process".One of the most problematic provinces has been Paktika in the southeast, where observers said polling failed to meet even minimum acceptable standards.
Afghan Joint Electoral Management Body (JEMB) chairman Peter Erben said ballot boxes from no less than 274 polling stations in the province were under review as well as boxes from more than 90 stations in Paghman district of Kabul.
Paghman is the home district of Abdul Rabb Rasoul Sayyaf, a powerful factional leader and ally of President Hamid Karzai who had been in fourth place for one of the 24 seats open to men in Kabul, with about 20 percent of the vote counted.
Reuters, October 2, 2005
A member of the EU mission, who did not want to be identified, said organisers should not feel obliged to rush the count if this meant questionable ballots were not dealt with properly.
In an initial report a day after the vote, the head of an EU observer mission, Emma Bonino, said the polls were generally well administered and peaceful and marked "a significant step forward for Afghanistan's democratic development".
But she pointed to pre-poll shortcomings, including numerous reports of intimidation and the killing of several candidates and election workers, and said the electoral system itself should be reconsidered.
In its own election-day report on the $159 million polls, the U.N.-Afghan Joint Electoral Management Body noted that "a full spectrum of irregularities seen in post-conflict environments was certainly present" during the vote.
These included fraudulent voter registration cards, double voting, proxy voting, misapplied procedures, intimidation and disruptions by agents.
However, it said there was no indication of any systemic problem or orchestrated attempts to defraud the entire election and added that the irregularities did not seem to have significantly affected the legitimacy of the results.