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One in 10 victorious Afghan candidates banned for fraud
Posted by The Agonist on November 21st, 2010

From our partners at The Agonist

Jon Boone | Kabul | Nov 22

The GuardianHamid Karzai may overturn election body’s ruling over ballot in which polling station closures hit Pashtun votes

Almost one in 10 of Afghanistan’s victorious parliamentary candidates were disqualified for cheating today after an investigation into widespread fraud during September’s election.

Twenty-one candidates were stripped of their win by the electoral complaints commission (ECC) for “irregularities, usage of fake votes and the influence of provincial officials”. The disqualifications will heighten tensions in the country with the publication of the final election results only days away.

It is more than two months since Afghans went to the polls for only the second time to elect MPs. The results are likely to dramatically reduce the influence of Pashtuns, the country’s largest ethnic group, who have traditionally dominated Afghanistan.

They have lost around 20 seats, with their final tally set to be roughly 90, meaning they will be a minority in the parliament of 249 MPs. Pashtun voters tend to live in areas of high insecurity where many polling stations were unable to open.

The international community had hoped the election would not be as traumatic as last year’s presidential poll, which was wrecked by astonishing levels of fraud committed on behalf of president Hamid Karzai.

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