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Afghan Candidates' Reps Join Presidential Vote Audit

  • VOA News

Afghan election workers count ballot papers during an audit of the presidential run-off in Kabul August 3, 2014.

Afghan election workers count ballot papers during an audit of the presidential run-off in Kabul August 3, 2014.

Representatives for Afghanistan's two presidential candidates who are disputing run-off elections results rejoined an internationally-monitored recount on Monday, after members from only one campaign attended a day earlier.

Observers from candidate Abdullah Abdullah's team were absent Sunday as the audit of June run-off election votes resumed after a holiday break last week.

Preliminary results show former finance minister Ashraf Ghani in the lead, but both sides allege fraud.

The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, known as UNAMA, said in a statement Monday that 95 per cent of the approximately 23,000 ballot boxes have been brought to Kabul to be examined for signs of fraud, and the remainder will arrive in the coming days.

Since July 17, the Independent Election Committee has reviewed the votes cast in more than 2,000 boxes.

A 16-point checklist devised by UNAMA and the IEC requires auditors to check the state of the boxes, whether ballots were correctly marked, and if there is evidence of tampering with the results sheets.

Analysts say the political uncertainty is hurting the Afghan economy and that delays in the election audit could seriously jeopardize Afghanistan’s future.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry spoke separately by telephone Friday with Abdullah and Ghani to offer support for the election process. The State Department said Kerry stressed the need for the post-election audit to be completed in a timely manner.

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