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Afghan Leader 'Not Bothered' By Voter Irregularities

Afghan leader and presidential candidate Hamid Karzai (file photo) 11 August 2004 (RFE/RL) -- Afghan President Hamid Karzai said today that Afghans might be registering to vote multiple times in the October presidential election, but he is not worried that it will affect the outcome.

"As a matter of fact, it doesn't bother me," Karzai said. "If Afghans have two registration cards and if they would like to vote twice, well, welcome. This is an exercise in democracy. Let them exercise it twice. But it will not have an impact on the elections. If somebody gives me three cards, I will take it and will go and vote. But my choice in voting will be the same. We are beginning an exercise. We cannot be perfect."

When a reporter at the news conference in Kabul told Karzai he was describing "a farce" election, the Afghan president shrugged off such concerns. Karzai said the Afghan people are enthusiastic and simply want to have cards.

Karzai corrected himself at a news conference later today, saying voters' fingers will be marked with indelible ink after they vote so that they cannot vote a second time.

(with AFP reports)