Stop-start Afghan vote audit gets green light, but troubles remain

  • World
  • Thursday, 31 Jul 2014

KABUL (Reuters) - The mammoth task of auditing eight million votes cast in the second round of Afghanistan's presidential election will restart on Saturday, the electoral commission said on Thursday, but disputes still hang over the process.

Allegations of mass fraud have cast doubt over the outcome of the vote that aims to transfer power democratically for the first time in Afghan history before most foreign troops pull out at the end of the year.

A U.S.-brokered agreement to audit all ballots defused a crisis this month, but the process has stalled three times since and the candidates have yet to agree on how to disqualify votes.

The audit stopped last weekend because of technical differences, and the suspension was extended due to the Eid al-Fitr holiday this week.

The United Nations on Thursday asked both candidates, Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani, to fully engage in the process, warning against further delays.

"Any delays, any uncertainties, have a major, negative impact on both the political and economic situation in Afghanistan," said Jan Kubis, the top U.N. official in Afghanistan.

"It's high time to complete the process of the elections."

The deal, brokered by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, also introduces the idea of a national unity government that would soften the blow for the losing candidate, although the two sides have yet to hammer out an agreement.

Preliminary results from the vote put former finance minister Ghani, a member of Afghanistan's biggest ethnic group, the Pashtuns, in the lead by about a million votes.

Abdullah, a former foreign minister, is part Pashtun but associated more with the ethnic Tajik minority.

Diplomats involved in the audit process say perhaps a quarter of the votes cast could be thrown out, if not more. At the current pace, they say it could take until the end of the year to complete the audit.

(Editing by Jeremy Laurence and Robert Birsel)

Article type: metered
User Type: anonymous web
User Status:
Campaign ID: 1
Cxense type: free
User access status: 3

Next In World

German conservatives extend poll lead ahead of September election
Extreme poverty jumps in Italy on back of COVID woes
U.S.-Russia summit: The American presidents Putin has confronted
U.N. finds no evidence of Islamic State control over Congo militia
Security flaw found in 2G mobile data encryption standard
U.S. envoy for North Korea to visit South Korea for three-way meet: Kyodo
Germany set to end work from home obligation, Merkel aide tells weekly
Nuclear deal must await new Iran gov't -IAEA exec tells paper
Ukraine hackers uncovered who targeted U.S., Korean firms, say police
Giant Buddhist goddess in Japan gets face mask to pray for end of COVID-19

Stories You'll Enjoy