In a shocking decision that took candidates and voters by surprise, a body charged with organising and managing Afghanistan’s election said on Thursday that fraud and mismanagement had rendered invalid the votes cast in the capital Kabul, during last October’s parliamentary election.
The ruling by the Electoral Complaints Commission (ECC) comes after it received a total of 2,767 complaints in Kabul, according to ECC Spokesperson Ali Reza Rouhani.
Over a million citizens cast their votes in the Afghan capital, in October, to select from over 800 candidates to represent 33 seats in the national parliament.
The election process was marred with violence, allegations of fraud, as well as technical problems with biometric voter verification gear and inaccurate voter lists.
Election results for five Afghan provinces were announced in the weeks following the elections, but authorities have still not released the results for Kabul. The latest ruling by the ECC may further delay results.
“There were serious outstanding problems in Kabul that could hurt the fairness, transparency and inclusiveness of the election,” Mr Rouhani told local media. The statement included a list of 24 points justifying the decision.
The decision by the ECC prompted a backlash from candidates as well as Afghanistan’s top election authority.
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