PAN, March 17, 2011

Recount shows vote massively rigged in Paktia

He said cast votes had been changed and result forms filled out wrongly

By Daud Tapan

A recount of votes in southeastern Paktia province showed massive rigging had taken place in last year's parliamentary election, an official said on Thursday.

The recount, completed on Wednesday, had been ordered by a special court looking to allegations of fraud in the Sept. 18 election, said Paktia's appellant court chief, Abdul Jalil Maulvizada.

The process was carried out by a 15-member delegation, comprising officials from various government departments, in the presence of representatives of disgruntled candidates, he said.

A report about the outcome was sent to Kabul after votes in 403 ballot boxes were recounted, Maulvizada said, adding there had been widespread vote rigging at a number of polling stations.

He said cast votes had been changed and result forms filled out wrongly.

The official expected the list of winners to change after the recount, but said that was up to the special court to decide.

One of losing candidates, Badshah Khan Zadran, said they were satisfied with the recount process, but remained concerned about whether the court's final verdict would be implemented or not.

He said they were waiting for the court to hand down its verdict and hoped it would be a fair decision.

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