Afghan Vote Marred by Claims of Fraud, Record Low Turnout

Election commission says 2.5 million voted

As Afghanistan’s election count gets under way in earnest, there is serious concern about the credibility of the vote, and in a nation where every election since the 2001 US invasion has been contested heavily, that’s really saying something.

Rahmatullah Nabil gave a press conference Tuesday demanding a second round to ensure a legitimate winner, and claimed evidence of “widespread fraud” by two unnamed teams. A run-off generally is only held between the top two vote getters, and those two are already each claiming victory, and insisting they have enough votes to mean there is no need for a second round at all.

Claims of widespread fraud are par for the course in Afghanistan. Making matters much worse, the Independent Election Commission is reporting 2.5 million votes were cast, which is by far the fewest votes cast in a national election since 2001.

Between Taliban threats and corruption disillusioning voters, people simply didn’t turn out for the election, and while some officials say they don’t consider this turnout level in the realm of 20% to be a serious problem, its clearly a bad sign.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.