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Losers warn of blocking Kabul roads

KABUL (Pajhwok): Failed provincial council (PC) candidates on Wednesday protested in front of the Presidential Palace and threatened to block highways to the central Kabul if their demands were not addressed.

Hundreds of losing candidates and their supporters from Kabul and those coming from provinces gathered at the Pashtunistan Square, asking the government not to hold oath-taking ceremonies for winning candidates.

The protesters accused the Independent Election Commission (IEC) and the Independent Electoral Complaints Commission (IECC) of fraud and called for those involved to be brought to justice.

Rafiullah Gul Afghan, a member of the upper house, whose name had been removed from the final list, said both the election panels were involved in fraud and only those offering bribes had been announced winners.

“We have evidence and documents that prove fraud committed by the commissioners, we want the creation of a special court to investigate corrupt IEC and IECC officials and address our problems,” he said.

The senator warned their protests could turn violent by closing roads connecting Kabul with provinces.

A failing candidate from southeastern Paktika province, Syed Kamal Katawazai, also claimed he had evidence showing the winners paid $50,000 to $100,000 to IEC officials in return for guaranteeing their victories in the April elections.

“If our documents proved false, we are ready to stand trial, otherwise, the fraud-tainted officials have to be punished,” he said.

Independent Directorate of Local Governance (IDLG) last week announced holding oath ceremonies for winning candidates from Nov 5.

mds/ma

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