Afghan presidential candidate boycotts recounting of votes

 thehindu.com  11/10/2019 16:21:01 

Afghanistans Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah called on Sunday for a halt to a recount of the recent presidential election, saying he would not accept fraud-marred results.

The move adds a fresh layer of uncertainty following the September 28 poll, which already has been marred by record-low turnout and continued bickering between Mr. Abdullah and his rival, President Ashraf Ghani. The recounting should be stopped. We are trying to save the process from fraudsters, Mr. Abdullah said at a rally of his supporters in Kabul. A fraud-marred election will not be accepted, he added.

Mr. Abdullah, who unsuccessfully ran in the previous two presidential elections, has repeatedly raised questions on the validity of hundreds of thousands of votes.

The election was meant to be the cleanest yet in Afghanistans young democracy, with a German firm supplying biometric machines that were supposed to stop people from voting more than once.

But nearly a million of the initial votes were purged owing to irregularities, meaning the election saw by far the lowest turnout of any Afghan poll, with only about 1.8 million votes from a total of 9.6 million registered voters in a population of around 37 million people.

Mr. Abdullah has said problems remain with about 3,00,000 votes, claiming various issues, including that photos attached to some ballots had been taken from fake identity cards.

He said his observers would be boycotting the recount, a move that will fuel further claims of problems with the electoral process.

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