Karzai Government challenges poll results

Thursday, November 25, 2010

KABUL - The government of President Hamid Karzai has vowed to challenge the final results of the parliamentary elections, even though they have been endorsed by international officials.

The results of the September election indicate that warlords and other power brokers would dominate the 249-seat lower house of Parliament.

According to a New York Times analysis, Karzai will be able to count on the support of at least 100 members, a figure his government is not comfortable with.

There is a view that at least 25 percent of ballots have been thrown out because of concerns about fraud. The losers have placed enormous pressure on election officials and Karzai to undo some results or declare the elections null and void.

Attorney General Mohammed Ishaq Aloko’s office has released a statement in which the United Nations was criticized for endorsing the final results, calling it “premature” and “a huge tragedy for the Afghan nation and the current democratic government.”

He said the Afghan Government would not confirm the results of the election and promised countrymen an honest investigation of suspect cases.

Aloko threatened to charge two election officials - Noor Mohammed Noor, spokesman for the Independent Election Commission, and Ahmed Zia Rafat, a commissioner for the Electoral Complaints Commission - with defaming the nation.

The government’s strong challenge may contain a measure of political posturing and be intended in part to influence a decision on the disputed outcome in one important province excluded from the announcement Wednesday.

According to the BBC, the outcome in Ghazni has been delayed after indications that not a single candidate from the largest ethnic group, the Pashtuns, had won a seat.

Officials also disqualified another three winning candidates due to alleged fraud, taking the total number ruled out to 24 (one in 10 MPs).

The results have been delayed by an electoral fraud investigation.

Many of Karzai’s favoured candidates did not do well in the vote and the Pashto-speaking majority in the old parliament has now disappeared.

Supporters of the president have been warning that if Pashtuns feel disenfranchised that could mean more recruits for the Taliban.

The outcome’s credibility will be watched closely by the US and NATO, whose leaders have been re-examining their long-term commitment in Afghanistan. (ANI)

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