More than 1,000 “potentially significant” claims of fraud regarding last week’s parliamentary elections in Afghanistan have been filed by candidates and poll workers. (photo, from aljazeera.net)
Since the election on September 18, the Electoral Complaints Commission (ECC), the joint Afghan-international body that reviews allegations of fraud, has received more than 3,000 complaints. More than a third of those claims have been classified as “potentially significant”, which means that they could affect the outcome of the vote in a particular province.
Of the remaining complaints, 700 have been labelled insignificant, while more than 1,300 have yet to be evaluated.
And data is not yet available for four provinces (Paktika, Kandahar, Zabul and Nuristan) all of them areas where insecurity made voting particularly difficult.
The ECC’s figures show that fraud have been widespread across the country. In Wardak province near the capital, Kabul, 31 of 40 complaints have been labelled potentially significant; in Badghis province in the west, 61 of 85 received that designation.
On Friday, the New York Times reported that Ahmed Wali Karzai, the brother of Afghan president Hamid Karzai, would be one beneficiary of the alleged fraud. He has been accused by candidates of “drawing up a list of winners” before the election was even held.
However the geographical distribution of the fraud complaints suggests that Karzai isn’t be the only one to benefit, a number of local powerbrokers will as well.
According to the ECC, more that 50 per cent of the complaints are potentially significant in at least 11 of the country’s 34 provinces.
In those provinces, many of the complaints deal principally with three types of fraud : polling irregularities, including ballot stuffing or the use of fake voter cards; counting irregularities, in which election officials report incorrect results ; and allegations of “undue influence”, when campaign or poll workers harass or intimidate voters.