Thousands rally for fresh Herat council election

HERAT CITY (PAN): Thousands of residents of this western city on Saturday took to the streets, rejecting as illegal the election of Syed Wahid Qatali as provincial council chief.
Qatali won a second round of the ballot that involved 12 members and held in Kabul last week in presence of Independent Directorate of Local Governance (IDLG) officials.
Governor Dr. Daud Shah Saba called the elections as a coup against him, saying the result was unacceptable to him as the vote had not been fair because a majority of members were absent.
Dr. Abdul Zahir Faizzada, who claims IDLG officials preventing him from contesting the vote, told nearly 7000 protestors the elections were illegal and should be conducted again in the presence of all council members and within the legal constituency.
The second round in Kabul came after last week’s electoral fray between Qatali and Faizzada failed to throw up a clear winner. Both received 9 votes each from the 19 members who participated.
Another rally participant, Haji Abdul Jabbar Tahiri, alleged those voting in favour of Qatali had received money from powerful individuals. "We being independent people are not ready to be ruled by force under the slogan of democracy," Tahiri remarked.
A female member of the council, Jehan Tab Tahiri, suggested the issue could be resolved if a fresh round of election was conducted in Herat, but not between Qatali and Faizzada.

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