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Afghan Vote Count Reportedly Half Finished

JEMB chief Peter Erben (file photo) 28 September 2005 -- The chief electoral officer for Afghanistan's recent parliamentary election said today the vote count is about half complete and should finish on schedule by around 4 October.

Peter Erben of the UN-Afghan Joint Electoral Management Body said in Kabul he was "absolutely satisfied" with the progress in counting the more than 6 million votes that were cast in the poll 10 days ago.

Erben said that once the count is finished in each province there will be a period for challenges before official results are announced on 22 October. The official said he expects to receive a flood of complaints from losing candidates as results emerge, but he appealed to losing candidates to respect the official results.

"We do have almost 6,000 candidates competing in this election and there is no doubt that we will have over 5,000 of these candidates who will lose the election and that this will lead to a very high level of accusations towards the process," Erben said. "We are taking into consideration the various claims that there are at the count centers and reacting to them when we believe they are substantiated."

Erben said extra staff have been deployed to some provinces that are behind in the counting process to ensure a timely and orderly vote count.


Read all about the Afghan parliamentary elections at Afghanistan Votes

For more news about events in Afghanistan, see RFE/RL's webpage News and Features on Afghanistan