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Telegraph, September 13, 2010

Afghan election officials “offered 380,000 Pounds”

The observers said individuals were being offered up to each for their votes

By Dean Nelson

Fake ballots printed in Peshawar
An owner of a printing press in Peshawar, Pakistan shows fake ballots printed for the upcoming parliamentary election in Afghanistan. Some candidates have ordered thousands of the illegal ballots. (Photo: PAJHWOK/Syed Sulaiman Khil)

Afghan election officials have been offered as much as $500,000 (£380,000) to falsify returns in the forthcoming parliamentary election by supporters of President Hamid Karzai, independent observers have said. Fraud in Saturday's election is expected to be at least as widespread as it was during last year's presidential election. The observers said individuals were being offered up to $20 each for their votes. The vote was delayed from its original date in May after international allies insisted on reforms to ensure a cleaner election.

But the country's Election Complaints Commission has been weakened since the presidential election. Complaints of ballot fraud will now be addressed at a provincial level, where officials will be more vulnerable to local pressure. Stephen Carter, who has worked as an observer in all Afghan elections since the Taliban regime was ousted in 2001, said poor security would allow Mr Karzai's allies to control voting in many areas. "In the last election a significant proportion of voters were disqualified and this time it won't be any less. There is an electoral process going on which is more about the market place for ballot rigging and how effective one can be at organising fraud," he said. In the presidential election, Mr Karzai was forced to accept a second round run-off with Abdullah Abdullah, the opposition leader, after officials reported widespread ballot stuffing and intimidation. Turnout was 30 per cent, but in insurgency-affected areas it was as low as 10 per cent. In the parliamentary elections, female candidates and their supporters have been subjected to some of the worst violence. According to Human Rights Watch, 10 supporters of Fauwzia Gilani were kidnapped on Aug 26. Five of them were shot dead. More than 2,400 candidates, including 386 women, are standing for 249 seats in the parliament's lower house.

Category: Corruption - Views: 8870


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09.08.2010: Voting cards only for those who bribe policemen
30.07.2010: Afghanistan election will still include suspected war criminals
29.07.2010: Voters Angry at “Warlord” Candidates
16.05.2010: Afghans want some candidates removed from list for being “violators of human rights”
11.10.2009: UN official says ‘widespread fraud’ in Afghan vote
08.09.2009: Afghanistan poll ‘fraud en masse’
05.09.2009: Polling records appear to back fraud allegations in Afghanistan presidential election
28.08.2009: Accusations of Vote Fraud Multiply in Afghanistan
27.08.2009: Afghanistan’s Long Vote Count: Room for Mischief?
21.08.2009: Kim Sengupta: A dubious litmus test for the poll
20.08.2009: Six girls of a family among 11 killed in south of Afghanistan
18.08.2009: Threat of Violence Overshadows Afghan Elections
18.08.2009: Corruption fears over Afghan poll
18.08.2009: Electoral fraud revealed in Afghanistan
18.08.2009: Observers See Pattern Of Fraud Before Afghan Vote
17.08.2009: Young Heratis Have Little Faith in Afghan Elections
15.08.2009: Afghanistan: Journalists caught between government, Taliban
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04.08.2009: Amnesty International’s Ten-Point Agenda for Human Rights in Afghanistan
24.07.2009: Fraud casts shadow over Afghan presidential vote
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