Afghan polls counting in progress

A former Taliban commander named for his skill with rocket grenades appears headed for a seat in a new Afghan parliament, but voters look to have shunned other Taliban defectors, including a former top religious policeman.

    Organisers are aiming for final results by 22 October

    Partial results from 18 September legislative elections published by the UN-Afghan vote organisers as of Friday showed Mullah Salman Rocketi leading the field for one of Zabul province's three seats, with 17% of the 40% of votes counted.
       
    But with more than half the vote counted in Logar province, former religious policeman Mawlavi Qalamuddin, once Taliban minister for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice, had just 428 votes, or 0.9% of the provincial total.
       
    In Kandahar province, former Taliban foreign minister Wakil Ahmad Muttawakil was even less popular, polling just 0.8% of the 13% of ballots counted, or 214 votes.
       
    Last in the field of defectors was Mullah Abdul Samad Khaksar, a former Taliban spy chief and deputy interior minister, with just 16 votes from 28,434 counted in Kandahar. 

    While incomplete, the count should be reasonably indicative as votes from all over each province are supposed to be mixed before being counted.

    Organisers are aiming for full provisional results by early October and final results by 22 October.

    Counting

    In the closely watched race in Kabul province, counting has been especially slow. 

    Counting has been slow in Kabul

    With 13%, or 54,000 votes counted, opponents of Karzai were leading. They were headed by Haji Mohammad Mohaqiq, an ethnic Hazara factional leader, with 16% of the total.
       
    Second was Ramazan Bashardost, a French-educated technocrat who quit the cabinet last year complaining of a failure to deal with corruption.

    He was just ahead of self-styled opposition leader and former education minister Yunus Qanuni.
       
    Karzai ally Abdul Rabb Rasoul Sayyaf, another of the factional leaders, was in fourth place for one of the 24 seats open to men in Kabul.
       
    While all candidates stood as independents rather than party representatives, Qanuni, runner up to Karzai in October presidential polls, heads a loose bloc of parties opposed to the president called the Understanding Front.
       
    Qanuni predicted before the vote that the front would win half of the 249 national assembly seats and has warned it might not approve all of Karzai's cabinet.

    SOURCE: Reuters


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