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Members Of Afghan Election Panel Named

Gathering votes in Herat 12 October 2004 -- The organizers of Afghanistan's disputed presidential election on 9 October have named two of three members of a panel that is expected to rule on grievances.

The UN-Afghan Joint Electoral Management Body says former Canadian diplomat Craig Jeness and Swedish election specialist Staffan Darnolf will sit on the panel. The EU is to name a third commissioner.

Most of the 16 presidential candidates announced they would not recognize the vote results after complaining of irregularities with indelible ink used to mark ballot papers and voters' fingers to avoid multiple voting. A number of the most prominent among those leaders have suggested they would accept the conclusions of an independent probe into those allegations, however, after the joint UN-Afghan election body vowed to form a panel to investigate.

Afghan Transitional Administration Chairman Hamid Karzai is widely expected to lead all vote getters in Afghanistan's first-ever direct presidential vote. Initial results could be ready by the end of the week, although final results are expected to take weeks.

A second round of presidential voting must be scheduled if no candidate wins a majority of the votes cast.