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Afghans Protest Parliamentary Vote


An Afghan woman protester walks past as policemen stand guard during a protest against September's parliamentary poll in Kabul, Afghanistan, 02 Nov. 2010.

An Afghan woman protester walks past as policemen stand guard during a protest against September's parliamentary poll in Kabul, Afghanistan, 02 Nov. 2010.

Dozens of people took to the streets of the Afghan capital on Tuesday to protest the country's recent parliamentary elections, which have been marred by allegations of fraud.

Demonstrators, including lawmakers and disgruntled candidates, called the September 18 poll undemocratic and unlawful, and they accused the country's election commission of manipulating the vote.

Afghan election officials have disqualified nearly a quarter of the 5.6 million ballots cast in the parliamentary election because of fraud and other irregularities. Election officials say they also are investigating at least 224 candidates for alleged fraud.

Final election results were originally set to be released by the end of October, but have been delayed while a United Nations-backed commission goes through thousands of complaints.

Afghanistan's main election monitoring body last week noted an "alarming" lack of transparency among election officials during the recount.

The Free and Fair Election Foundation of Afghanistan said that in at least 23 provinces, observers reported serious recounting problems, including missing complaints forms, discrepancies between tally sheet totals and votes in recounted ballot boxes, and candidates' agents being blocked from observing the recounts.

September's parliamentary vote followed last year's presidential election, which was marred by widespread fraud. Roughly one-third of the votes cast for President Hamid Karzai were thrown out by the complaints commission.

The parliamentary poll also went ahead in the face of threats from Taliban militants.

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

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