200 complaints against Afghan poll
KABUL: Around 225 allegations of irregularities in Afghanistan's elections have been lodged with a complaints investigator, some of which could affect the results, the body said on Sunday.
The charges include tampering with ballot boxes for Thursday's presidential and provincial council elections, as well as intimidation of voters, Electoral Complaints Commission (ECC) chairman Grant Kippen told reporters.
Others related to violence, failures of supposedly indelible ink meant to prevent people from voting twice and interference in polling, he said.
"As of close of business yesterday the ECC had received approximately 225 complaints. And these are complaints on and since election day," Kippen said.
Some contained multiple allegations, he said, adding that more complaints could be received by the ECC, which is an independent Afghan organisation.
"Thirty five have been assigned a high priority and these are ones that we had to deem to be material to the outcome of the election results," he said.
Preliminary results from the presidential vote, only the second in the history of Afghanistan, are expected in coming days but will be subject to ECC investigations.
Incumbent Hamid Karzai and former foreign minister Abdullah Abdullah both claim to be ahead in the vote count.
Abdullah has made claims of fraud through the media, including of election officials telling people to vote for Karzai.
"We are aware of significant complaints of voting irregularities in provinces that were affected by violence on polling day," Kippen said, adding that these included the southern province of Kandahar, a Taliban stronghold.
Insurgents from the Taliban, which was in government between 1996 and 2001, threatened to attack polling stations to disrupt the vote. There were a series of incidents, including rocket and bomb attacks, on election day.
Security fears appear to have stopped some voters from casting their ballots. The elections authority has yet to release turnout figures but observers said it could be as low as 10 percent in the south.
Kippen said the election results would only be certified once complaints had been adjudicated. The ECC is the independent body established under Afghan law to adjudicate all challenges and complaints related to elections.