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UN Envoy Denies Cover-Up of Afghan Election Fraud

By VOA News
08 October 2009

The United Nations' top envoy in Afghanistan is denying allegations by his former deputy that he tried to conceal evidence of fraud in the Afghan presidential elections.

In a statement Thursday, Kai Eide said claims that the United Nations covered up fraud or that he asked for it to be covered up are "patently false."

Eide says the allegations are now impeding the ongoing audit of suspicious ballots. He said he plans to deal openly with the allegations at the appropriate time.

Last month, Eide's deputy, U.S. diplomat Peter Galbraith, accused Eide of withholding U.N. evidence of massive ballot-stuffing in the August 20 elections. Following news reports of Galbraith's accusations, he was fired from his position.

The Washington Post newspaper this week revealed that U.N. data show widespread discrepancies between estimated and official voter turnouts, especially in areas won by Afghan President Hamid Karzai.

The paper said a U.N. spreadsheet kept secret by Kai Eide, shows the official vote count in some provinces exceeded the estimated number of voters by more than 100,000.

The discrepancies were especially prevalent in the volatile southern and eastern provinces, where Afghan President Hamid Karzai won with large margins.

The U.N. data also indicate fraud by followers of Mr. Karzai's top challenger Abdullah Abdullah but on a much smaller scale.

Afghan election officials say workers are recounting some of the ballots from the presidential election and expect to formally declare a winner by late next week.

Unofficial tallies indicate Mr. Karzai leads with about 54 percent of the vote. If his lead dips below 50 percent, he could face Abdullah Abdullah in a runoff.

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

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