UN admits 'fraud' marred Afghan election
Sun, 11 Oct 2009 19:05:11 GMT
After facing allegations of attempting to cover up evidence of cheating in Afghanistan's presidential election, the head of UN mission in the country admits "significant fraud" affected the August vote.
Responding to the accusations made by his sacked deputy, Peter Galbraith, that he had concealed evidence of vote rigging, Kai Eide told reporters on Sunday that he had no doubt that fraud had taken place during the election but any effect on the result remained unclear.
"It is true that in a number of polling stations in the south and the southeast there was significant fraud," Eide told a news conference in Kabul. "The extent of that fraud is now being determined".
"It has been claimed that there was 30 percent fraud. There is no way to know at this stage what the level of fraud is. No one knows. I can only say there was widespread fraud," he continued.
Galbraith — an American diplomat who was dismissed from his post at the end of September — had claimed that his former boss had allowed voting irregularities to occur in the run-up to and after the country's August 20 election in favor of the incumbent president, Hamid Karzai.
Galbraith says Eide had failed to stop polling stations from opening in areas that were too dangerous for monitors to visit and banning his staff from handing over evidence that showed that actual voter turnout was far lower than reported.
The US, British, French and German ambassadors and the European Union's special representative to Afghanistan accompanied Eide during his news conference but none of them spoke and journalists were prevented from asking questions.
Final results are expected to be announced by the end of this week, with preliminary results putting President Karzai well ahead of his nearest rival, Abdullah Abdullah.
Karzai has secured about 55 percent of the vote, while Abdullah is on 28 percent.