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Afghan Election Watchdog Disqualifies Candidates

Ahmad Zia Rafat, a commissioner and spokesperson for the Electoral Complaints Commission speaks during a press conference in Kabul, 21 November 2010

Afghanistan's election watchdog says it has disqualified 19 winning candidates in the country's parliamentary elections after allegations of fraud were upheld.

The Electoral Complaints Commission said Sunday two second-place candidates who would have gained by the disqualifications were also ruled not eligible for the same reasons.

An official said the candidates do not have a right to appeal the decision.

The commission has been investigating some 2,500 complaints that were considered serious after the September 18 elections.

The vote for the 249-seat parliament is being watched by Afghan President Hamid Karzai's Western allies for signs that the Afghan leader is committed to reforming his corruption-ridden government.

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

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