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Kabul Diary - 23 August 2009

Amanullah Ghilzai

*Amanullah Ghilzai is Managing Editor of VOA Pashto Afghan service
Day 9 in Afghanistan

23 August
- Many Afghans were expecting that the Election commission would announce the preliminary results today but the target date for announcing the official results may be delayed amid allegations of complaints of voting fraud and bullying. The head of the Independent Election Commission, Daud Ali Najafi told journalists in Kabul today that preliminary results from some provinces will be announced tomorrow on Tuesday.

Until yesterday there was general sense in the city that Karzai is the winner. After the delay in announcing the preliminary results many supporters of Abdullah Abdullah seemed more confident that their leader may be the winner. The whole city looked joyous today as supporters of the two leading candidates were claiming victory.

I went to the Afghan Parliament and met some analysts today and talked to them about the prevailing situation in the country after the reports of electoral fraud. Almost all the analysts expressed their fears that long delay in announcing the results may create doubts and according to some, it could lead to the Iran-like agitation in Kabul and other some cities of the country. The Election Commission said today that they have received 225 reports of voting fraud, which they have to investigate and it looks like that most of these have be adjudicated before full results of the election can be announced. Surprisingly, the Electoral Complaints Commission announced today that two weeks were not enough to investigate more than 200 electoral complaints which could mean the announcement of the results could take several weeks.

In the meantime, the tone of the main challenger to Hamid Karzai, Abdullah Abdullah, seemed a little changed today after he alleged that widespread fraud has happened on the polling day. Mr. Abdullah was addressing a press conference in Kabul today during which he said that he had evidence that voting had been widely rigged in favor of the incumbent President Hamid Karzai. His mood was different today compared to the one yesterday.  During a live interview with the VOA’s Ashna Television yesterday afternoon, Mr. Abdullah gave a clear cut indication that he would not resort to political agitation if loses in the election. But today Mr. Abdullah’s tone seemed a bit harsh when he alleged that widespread fraud has happened on the polling day. At this point it is very hard to predict as what would be the reaction of Mr. Abdullah if he is the loser.

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