There are increasing claims and accusations over fraud in Afghanistan’s presidential election.
EU monitors say the poll was generally fair but not free – a verdict backed by presidential candidate, Abdullah Abdullah. The former foreign minister believes government officials interfered at some polling stations. “Some of the ballot boxes have to be quarantined because in some areas we have already registered our complaints with the Complaints Commission,” said Abdullah. President Hamid Karzai is expected to win the first round, but it is too close to say whether the president will earn an outright majority or would have to face Abdullah in a runoff. Either way, EU election officials say they are concerned about fraud and voter intimidation allegations. Preliminary official results are due on September 3, with the final result set to be released two weeks later. Much is likely to depend on turnout in Pashtun areas in the south where the president draws his strongest support but where voters bore the brunt of Taliban attacks and intimidation.