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Hundreds March For Losing Afghan Candidates

Daud Sultanzoi was among 62 losing candidates who disputed the results of parliamentary elections in 2010.

Daud Sultanzoi was among 62 losing candidates who disputed the results of parliamentary elections in 2010.

KABUL -- Hundreds of people have marched in Afghanistan in support of losing candidates who are disputing the results of last year's parliamentary elections, RFE/RL's Radio Free Afghanistan reports.

The marchers walked for several hours on September 6 along a dangerous highway from Maidan Shahr, the capital of central Wardak Province, to the capital Kabul, many of them chanting slogans for justice over the fraud-marred elections.

Organizers say 5,000 people took part, though officials put the number only in the hundreds.

The second post-Taliban parliamentary elections in September 2010 have been embroiled in disputes and accusations of widespread fraud. Winners and losers in the elections have since held protests inside the assembly and on the streets.

The march on September 6 was led by Daud Sultanzoi, who was among 62 losing candidates who challenged the election results in a special court.

Earlier this summer the court declared them winners, saying 62 lawmakers should be unseated. But the Independent Election Commission last month decided to replace only nine members of the lower house of the Afghan parliament.

Sultanzoi now leads protests by the remaining candidates.

Sultanzoi maintained that the march was peaceful and vowed to turn the sporadic protests into a movement to solve his country's multiple problems.

"We will continue our protest as long as the critical problems of the people are not addressed by delivering good governance, justice and establishing a sustainable independent political system," he said.

"We demand that the president implement the judicial decision. If he fails to do so and continues to strike [political] deals over such decisions, we might demand his resignation."

Separately, supporters of the nine former lawmakers who were forcefully barred from entering the legislature on September 3 have also announced protests.

A group of sitting lawmakers has indicated it will stage a boycott in protest if the nine are kept out of the parliament.

Yet another coalition of losing candidates has also vowed to continue protests. They are calling for the current parliament to be scrapped so that a new legislature can be elected in transparent elections.