KABUL: A senior UN envoy has arrived in Kabul to help electoral officials deal with allegations of massive fraud in the recent presidential elections, a UN spokesman said today.
Afghans voted on August 20 in
presidential and provincial council elections that have since been mired in accusations of ballot-stuffing and vote-rigging principally in favour of
President Hamid Karzai.
Preliminary results released last week show Karzai leading with nearly 55 per cent of the vote, against his nearest rival Abdullah Abdullah with 27.8 per cent. Turnout was a meagre 38.7 per cent.
A drawn-out counting process
allowed fraud allegations to gain
momentum, with the Electoral Complaints Commission (ECC) identifying over 2,500 polling stations where “clear and convincing evidence of fraud” merits a recount. The Independent Election Commission (IEC) — accused of being stacked with Karzai cronies — says such an audit would take six weeks, and are urging an alternative to prevent prolonged political crisis.
With the two bodies deadlocked on how to proceed, the UN has brought in an “electoral expert who is advising the IEC and the ECC on how to conduct the partial recount in a timely fashion with integrity so that the final outcome reflects the will of the people,” said UN spokesman Aleem Siddique.
He would not name the official,
but London’s Sunday Telegraph newspaper identified him as Carlos
Valenzuela, a Colombian with experience of controversial elections who was in Afghanistan during 2005 polls.
Siddique did not deny the official is Valenzuela.