Afghans fear massive rigging of polls

Kabul: Afghanistan’s presidential aspirants fear fraud will once again disrupt the electioneering.

The April 5th elections will see the emergence of a new president, with Hamid Karzai’s second term endind. The new president will either take the nation into peace and prosperity or endanger peace by allowing the Talibanisation of the country.  

Abdullah Abdullah, one of the frontrunners, has reiterated his concerns about large-scale fraud. His rival, the former finance Minister Ashraf Ghani, told The Guardian, his team was trying to pre-empt the kind of fraud that riddled 2009 voting, adding, “People will not be deprived of their right to good governance”.

Karzai who won that year (2009) received over 50% of the votes. It is widely believed that electoral fraud caused his comeback even though he had become largely unpopular after his first term.

Large-scale cheating has marred every Afghan election since the Taliban’s fall. A recent survey by the Free and Fair Election Forum of Afghanistan found that only a quarter of Afghans expect the vote to be clean. Election organisers, monitors and diplomats all agree that ballot-stuffing, vote buying, intimidation and impersonation are likely to be a problem again.

Votes will be tallied on site and copies of the results sheet posted outside the ballot station, in the ballot box and sent to Kabul. Vote-counting will be done twice by two separate teams; where results differ they will be rechecked.

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