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Complaints commission to recount tens of thousands of ballots

Afghanistan’s election complaints tribunal has announced it will conduct a massive ballot recount of roughly 3,000 polling stations in the light of thousands of complaints suggesting fraud in the country’s high-stakes presidential race.

The Electoral Complaints Commission’s spokesperson said Sunday the panel ruled a ballot recount in 2,928 polling stations in 20 provinces. Mohammad Qasem Ilyasi said they have agreed with the independent election commission to devise a universal plan for ballot recounts. He said the adjudication of complaints continues in all regions and the process is nearing an end.

This is as investigation of complaints is still underway in Kabul, Khost, Kandahar and Nangarhar provinces.

The complaints commission has to wrap up adjudication of all the complaints until Monday this week and announce its results.

Earlier the commission announced it had identified more than 3,272 election offences out of thousands of complaints that could possibly lead the election to a second round.

Primary results of Afghanistan’s controversial presidential race were announced two weeks ago after over three months of drawbacks over allegations of fraud and vote rigging. Overlooking petitions to scrap over 300,000 controversial votes, state election authorities tallied all ballots and reported that Ghani was the frontrunner with more than 50% of the 1.8 million votes.

The results followed piles of complaints flooding the complaints commission, which launched a major classification of all filed grievances. An aggregate of 16,500 complaints had been filed to challenge the primary output of presidential election. Chief Executive Abdullah who had almost 39% has been challenging the result claiming his rival Ghani had manipulated the polls and stuffed thousands of ballots including one third of his tallied vote.

A majority of grievances – 6,880 – are related to a discrepancy between biometric-based votes and the result sheet. Others are related to gratuitous invalidation of voting stations, suspicious ballots and etc.

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