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Allegations of election fraud increase tension in Afghanistan

[JURIST] Afghanistan presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah announced [press release] on Wednesday that he has suspended his campaign's cooperation with Afghanistan's Independent Election Commission (IEC) and the Independent Electoral Complaints Commission (IECC), alleging fraud by the IEC. Hundreds of Abdullah's supporters gathered Saturday to protest the runoff election [AP report]. On Sunday Abdullah released recordings [Reuters report] purported to show that IEC Secretariat Zia-ul-Haq Amarkhil made phone calls to officials in several provinces ordering them to stuff ballot boxes, which has only further agitated protesters. The UN has expressed concern [UN News Centre report] that these allegations lead to a paralyzing struggle for power along ethnic lines, derailing what was supposed to be the first peaceful democratic transfer of power in Afghanistan's history. Official preliminary results are not due out until July 2.

Afghanistan's Independent Election Complaints Commission (IECC) [official website] said last Apil that there have been more more incidents of serious fraud reported in the April presidential election than the previous election in 2009, when more than a million suspect votes were thrown out. The April 5 vote was praised [Reuters report] for its high voter turnout and the failure of Taliban militants to stage attacks on election day. However, by mid-April, the IECC had recorded 3,724 complaints [JURIST report], 870 of which are classified as "Priority A" complaints considered serious enough to affect the outcome of the election. The previous 2009 election had a total of 3,072 complaints and 815 Priority A incidents.

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