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Afghan Commission Still Poring Over Vote Complaints

Counting votes at a provincial vote-counting center 10 October 2005 (RFE/RL) -- Afghanistan's Electoral Complaints Commission (ECC) has adjudicated more than half of the roughly 5,300 challenges and complaints filed since mid-July concerning the landmark national and parliamentary elections on 18 September, the commission said in a statement today.

More than 1,000 complaints have been filed with the central commission or with provincial election commissions since election day, the statement said.

The commission also said it is placing the highest priority on the 200-300 complaints that "could change the results of the elections," followed by those that "make electorally relevant allegations and present evidence that supports them," in an effort to speed up its assessment process.

It said it will notify the election watchdog, the Afghan-UN Joint Electoral Management Body (JEMB), once all the complaints that might alter the elections have been dealt with, to allow that body to certify final results.

"The complaints filed since Election Day and reviewed by the ECC have thus far generally raised the same issues that observer groups have discussed in their public statements: allegations of intimidation, bias among electoral officials, lack of access to polls and counting centers, and concerns about quarantined ballot boxes and the reporting of results," the ECC said in the statement. "As in any hotly contest[ed] election, but particularly in one where over 5,000 candidates will fail to win a seat, many unsubstantiated complaints are to be expected."

The commission vowed in the statement to "take action if it finds evidence that the Electoral Law has been violated."

For full RFE/RL coverage and background on the mid-September elections, see our Afghanistan Votes page.