Local News Summary - Sept 23

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In today's local news: Khost elders unhappy with poll; IEC announces plans to release preliminary results; Badghis residents deprived chance to vote; IEC Media Commission press  conference.

Khost Elders Reject ‘Fraud-Marred’ Polls
Pajhwok Afghan News, Sept 23

A number of tribal elders in southeastern Khost province, alleging massive rigging, on Thursday rejected Saturday's parliamentary elections. "The vote has been massively rigged, particularly at women's polling stations. Therefore, the elections are not acceptable to us," the elders told a press conference in Khost City. The tribal solidarity council head, Ghazi Nawaz Tanai, said poll results showed the number of women's ballots was higher than men's in remote areas, where females did not vote at all. At many women's polling centres in far-flung places, ballot boxes were stuffed in favour of certain candidates, Tanai claimed. At one centre, the number of women's votes was put at 900 and men's at 15, he revealed. [PAN]

Partial Afghanistan Voting Results to be Released Thursday
USA Today, Sept 23

Afghan officials plan to release the first partial results Thursday from last week's parliamentary election amid mounting allegations of fraud in a poll seen as a test of the Afghan government's commitment to rooting out corruption. Saturday's vote was the first since a presidential election last year that was nearly derailed by widespread ballot-box stuffing and tally manipulation. That poll led many Western powers to question whether they should be supporting the administration of President Hamid Karzai with military forces and funds. Preliminary partial results for the 249 parliamentary seats will be released Thursday, along with details on ballots that have been kept out of the count because of suspicions of cheating, said Election Commission spokesman Noor Mohammad Noor.
Full preliminary results are expected in early October, but final tallies won't be announced until the end of October at the earliest, because of the time needed to investigate fraud charges. About 2,500 candidates are running, making a large pool of people likely to file complaints. [USA Today]

Many Deprived of Voting Rights in Badghis
Pajhwok Afghan News, Sept 23

Many villagers could not vote in Saturday's parliamentary polls due to the supply of ballot papers exclusively meant for Kuchis to a number of polling centres in western Badghis province, officials and residents said on Wednesday. About 3,000 eligible voters in 15 villages of the Gulchin Valley in Qadis district were deprived of their right to vote in the Wolesi Jirga election, Deputy Governor Abdul Ghani Sabri told Pajhwok Afghan News.

He said there was only one polling centre in the area, where ballots papers exclusively made for nomadic Kuchis had been sent on the election day. Sabri held the Independent Election Commission responsible for the blunder. [PAN]

IEC Media Commission Press Conference
Afghan2010.com Sept 23

The Media Commission of the Independent Election Commission held a press conference in Kabul Thursday to pass on its findings about media during the election, including violations during the silent period 48 hours before the poll. You can read our notes of the speech by the Media Commission’s Chairman Naseer Sherzai here.