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OSCE Calls For Democratic Afghan Vote

Campaigning comes to a close today 15 September 2005 -- The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) today called on all participants in Afghanistan's parliamentary elections on 18 September to ensure a free and fair vote.

Craig Jenness, head of the OSCE's election team in Afghanistan, said the polling -- the first legislative elections in Afghanistan in over 30 years -- represents a vote for the continued growth of democracy and human rights in the country.

Meanwhile, the group Human Rights Watch (HRW) has said neo-Taliban-related violence and intimidation by warlords could undermine the polling.

Sam Zarifi, deputy director of HRW's Asia Division, today said that while there is an underlying climate of fear surrounding the vote, most Afghans are clearly eager to participate in the elections.

Voters will select from more than 5,700 candidates to fill the lower house of the National Assembly, known as the People's Council, and 34 provincial councils.


See also:

"Eleventh Hour Disqualifications May Serve Questionable Candidates"

[For background and an archive of related stories, see RFE/RL's Afghanistan Votes page.]