Afghanistan begins process of ballots invalidation

Posted By: IANS
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Afghanistan begins process of ballots invalidation
Kabul, Aug 25: The Afghan Independent Election Commission (IEC) Monday began the process of invalidation of ballots in the presidential runoff elections held June 14, as the audit process of all ballot boxes continues.

The audit process of the votes cast in June 14 to elect a president began July 17. IEC Chairman Ahmad Yusuf Nuristani promised to complete the process within three to four weeks, Xinhua reported.

So far, the IEC has audited 16,364 ballot boxes out of total 22,828 boxes, according to IEC officials.

"About 3,645 polling stations had been reviewed by the IEC Monday. A total of 2,876 boxes were normal," the officials told reporters.

The IEC conducted recount of 697 boxes, and 72 polling stations or boxes were invalidated, an official said.

The Afghan presidential runoff was held June 14 between the two frontrunners, Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai, a former finance minister, and Abdullah Abdullah, a former foreign minister.

Preliminary results showed that Ghani was ahead. However, Abdullah refused to accept the outcome and accused the election commission of committing fraud and demanded a vote recount.

US Secretary of State John Kerry brokered an agreement between the two candidates July 12, breaking the election deadlock and paving the way for the formation of a national unity government in the ethnically-divided country.

Both the candidates agreed for audit of 100 percent of nearly eight million votes.

Under the agreement, the candidate who secures the majority of the votes in the audit process would become the country's president, and his opponent would serve as chief executive, which is tantamount to the position of prime minister.

The new president's inauguration is expected to be held Sep 2 if the final results are announced on time, according to officials.


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