EU suspects vote fraud in Afghan parliamentary elections on Sept. 18

European Union observers on Friday reported "worrying cases of fraud" in landmark Afghan parliamentary elections held Sept. 18.

The EU mission reported ballot stuffing, proxy voting and possible intimidation of voters intended to influence their choice of candidate.

"The EU Election Observation Mission notes that, based on reports of its observers across the country, in certain provinces the counting process has revealed worrying cases of fraud," a statement said.

"While these phenomena do not appear to be nationwide, they are a cause for concern," it said, urging the election administration to address the issues transparently "to safeguard the integrity of the electoral process."

More than 6 million Afghans voted for new national and provincial assemblies. The joint U.N.-Afghan electoral authority said this week it is so far satisfied with how the election has been conducted. Final results are expected Oct. 22.

The elections are regarded as a key step in war-battered Afghanistan's transition to democracy following the U.S.-led ouster of the Taliban in late 2001.


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