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Tribunal dismisses 10,000 complaints alleging election fraud

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KABUL: Afghanistan’s election complaints tribunal has rejected nearly 10,000 complaints alleging fraud and vote-rigging in hundreds of polling stations, in the midst of a discord over election result in the world’s most dragged-out presidential race.

Some 9,866 out of 16,545 complaints have been rolled out of the adjudication process due to lack of substantiated evidence, said Zuhra Bayan Shinwari, head of the Independent Electoral Complaints Commission (IECC) at a Tuesday press conference.

Shinwari said ballots from 5,315 polling stations will be recounted following thousands of substantiated allegations of ballot-stuffing. A recent decision by the tribunal to recount tens of thousands of ballots faced backlash from the independent election commission. But Shinwari said “We are now moving forward with the recount and there have been no serious problems between the two commissions”.

The votes of 109 polling stations have been invalidated and 75 people have been fined over alleged involvement in fraudulent behavior. 71 Independent Election Commission (IEC) employees have been fired, according to IECC officials.

Mohammad Qasim Ilyasi, a commissioner and spokesman for IECC, said: “We think it is too early to disclose the names of those who have been referred to the Attorney General.”

After today’s announcement, the electoral campaign teams will have three days to appeal the IECC’s rejection of the campaign team’s complaints.

The polling stations designated for recount are in 19 provinces, IECC spokesman Mohammad Qasim Ilyasi said.

He said the commission received 381 follow-up complaints on its initial decisions about the assessed complaints.

Nangarhar, with 1,580, has the highest number of polling stations to be recounted, according to the IECC. There will be recounts in Kunar, with 248 polling stations, Paktia with 386 polling stations, Nimroz with 177, and Helmand with 150 polling stations.

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