|AP / Musadeq Sadeq|
An Afghan worker for the election commission office walks by the counting center in Kandahar province, south of Kabul, in August.
A European Union election watchdog group has determined that as many as a third of the votes cast in the recent presidential election in Afghanistan might be fraudulent, which translates to as many as 1.1 million bogus votes—making Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s re-election seem suspect just as the tally tilted in his favor.
The Christian Science Monitor:
The latest dark cloud over the Aug. 20 election came as Afghanistan’s election commission released a preliminary vote tally Wednesday showing President Hamid Karzai with 54.6 percent of the votes cast – enough to avoid a runoff if the total stands up to one official recount already launched and to mounting doubts like those from the EU.
The EU’s general depiction of fraud was bad enough. But even more damaging to the Western-backed government of President Karzai was the finding by Phillippe Morillon, head of the EU monitor, that more than one-third of the votes Mr. Karzai received in his reelection bid – 1.1 million of about 3 million votes for Karzai – could be fraudulent and must be investigated.
In addition to the preliminary vote total, the election commission concluded that turnout in the election was 38 percent – much lower than the 70 percent that voted in Afghanistan’s first presidential election in 2004 and a number that is likely to feed doubts about the government’s legitimacy.