Karzai supporters offered Afghan officials 500,000 dollars to falsify parliamentary poll results

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Kabul, Sept 13 (ANI): Independent observers have claimed that Afghan election officials were offered 500,000 dollars (380,000 pounds) to falsify returns in parliamentary election by President Hamid Karzai's supporters. The report suggests that Saturday's parliamentary elections is expected to be as messy as last year's fraud-marred presidential balloting.

According to The Nation, observers said individuals were being offered up to 20 dollars each for their vote.

The vote was delayed from its original date in May after international allies insisted on reforms to ensure a cleaner election. However, the country's Election Complaints Commission has reportedly received several complaints since the presidential election, which will now be addressed at a provincial level, where officials will be more vulnerable to local pressure.

Stephen Carter, who has worked as an observer in all Afghan elections since the Taliban regime was ousted in October 2001, said poor security would allow Karzai's allies to control voting in many areas.

"In the last election a significant proportion of voters were disqualified and this time it won't be any less. There is an electoral process going on which is more about the market place for ballot rigging and how effective one can be at organising fraud," he added.

In the presidential election, Karzai was forced to accept a second round run-off with Abdullah Abdullah, the opposition leader, after officials reported widespread ballot stuffing and intimidation. The turnout was 30 per cent, but in insurgency-affected areas it was as low as 10 per cent. (ANI)

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