Afghanistan president accuses UN, EU officials of election fraud

[JURIST] Afghan President Hamid Karzai [official profile, JURIST news archive] on Thursday blamed foreign officials for the extensive irregularities that occurred during last year's disputed presidential election [JURIST news archive]. Though admitting that fraud was widespread, Karzai accused [Al Jazeera report] UN and EU representatives, particularly former deputy head of the UN-backed mission Peter Galbraith [official profile], of attempting to influence vote counts and disseminating false information to media outlets in an effort to slander his campaign. He further alleged that electoral officials were offered bribes [AFP report] by embassy representatives, though he did not specify which embassies were involved. Both the UN and EU declined to comment on the accusations.

On Wednesday, the lower house of the Afghan Parliament rejected [press release] Karzai's proposal to require that all appointees to the UN-supported Electoral Complaints Commission (ECC) [official website] be of Afghan citizenship. In November, Afghanistan's Independent Election Commission (IEC) [official website] declared Karzai the winner [JURIST report] of the election after challenger Abdullah Abdullah [BBC profile] withdrew from the runoff election due to the his belief that the upcoming vote would not be free or fair. Karzai was originally declared to have secured over half the vote, avoiding a runoff, but this was challenged by the EEC in October when it invalidated [JURIST report] a significant portion of Karzai's vote due to findings of fraud at 210 polling stations. Soon after the election was held in August, Abdullah alleged widespread voter fraud [JURIST report], filing more than 100 complaints with the ECC alleging ballot stuffing, inflated vote counts, and intimidation at the polls by Karzai supporters.

 

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