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EU Observers: 1.5 Million Suspicious Votes Cast in Afghan Election

By VOA News
16 September 2009

The European Union election observer mission in Afghanistan says it has counted 1.5 million suspicious votes from last month's presidential election.

Officials with the mission Wednesday said about one-third of the votes cast indicate fraud.

They say these include 1.1 million suspicious votes for incumbent President Hamid Karzai and 300,000 for his main rival, former Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah.

Mr. Karzai's campaign team quickly issued a statement dismissing the EU monitors' announcement as "partial, irresponsible and in contradiction with Afghanistan's constitution."

It said it is up to the United Nations-backed Electoral Complaints Commission to address such issues, not international monitors.

Afghan election officials say they will release full preliminary election results Wednesday.

But a partial recount ordered by the ECC could delay the final official outcome for weeks.

Last week, Afghanistan's Independent Election Commission announced that with nearly all of the votes tallied, President Karzai had won more than the 50 percent needed to avoid a runoff. It said his main challenger, former Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah, had 28 percent of the vote.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.

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