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Central & South Asia
Afghanistan holds limited recount
Election Commission to audit just 10 per cent of disputed presidential poll votes.
Last Modified: 25 Sep 2009 16:14 GMT

A speedy resolution to the claims of fraud is desired so that any run-off can be held before winter [AFP]

The Afghan Independent Election Commission has said it will recount 10 per cent of the disputed ballots from last month's presidential poll.

The decision, announced on Friday, means votes from just 313 of the 3,063 polling stations where suspected violations have been reported will be recounted.

It has been reported that during the election on August 20 some polling stations had a turnout in excess of 100 per cent, while others saw almost all votes cast for one candidate.

The Afghan Independent Election Commission (IEC) and the Electoral Complaints Commission (ECC) took the decision to recount only a limited sample in order to speed up the investigation process.

"It will be fair," Grant Kippen, the head of the ECC, said.

"We've got these international experts who have been doing this and who have advised that this is a good approach."

Randomly selected

The 313 ballot boxes were randomly selected in front of candidate agents and observers, Nellika Little, a spokeswoman for the ECC, said.

In depth

  Your views: Will Afghanistan's election bring stability?
  Karzai in his own words
  Inside Story: Afghan elections

The selected ballot boxes could be retrieved from the provinces as soon as Saturday, according to Zekria Barakzai, the deputy chief electoral officer of the Afghan election commission.

Officials suggested that the process would take about two weeks.

The IEC has said that it wants to make the process as quick as possible in case a second run-off is needed between the two leading candidates.

If no candidate wins at least 50 per cent of the official results the two candidates with the highest number of votes will go into the runoff.

The IEC announced final preliminary results for the election last week giving incumbent Hamid Karzai 54.6 per cent and Abdullah Abdullah, a former foreign minister, 27.8 per cent of the vote.

The results will not be confirmed until all cases of fraud are investigated.

There have been concerns that further delays would make it virtually impossible to hold a run-off before the harsh Afghan winter, which would likely prevent election materials being delivered to many polling stations.

Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
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