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KANDAHAR CITY (Pajhwok): Despite technical problems at polling stations, a large number of people on Saturday participated in the Wolesi Jirga elections in southern Kandahar province.
The Wolesi Jirga elections were delayed for a week in Kandahar after the assassination of provincial police chief, Gen. Abdul Raziq.
Polling in across Kandahar kicked off at 7am and closed at 4pm, according to the Independent Election Commission (IEC).
Thousands of voters thronged polling centers in Kandahar this morning and waited in long lines for hours to cast their votes.
The voting began in some polling stations by an hour or two delay at 8am, 9am and even at 12pm in the provincial capital and districts of Kandahar.
Thousands gathered in Sayed Jamaludin Afghan area of Kandahar city early in the morning, but the voting process started at 9am.
One of the voters, Maiwand, told Pajhwok Afghan News there was problem in finding names of voters in the list and in biometric devices in the polling station of Sayed Jamaludin Afghan area.
The voting in Safia Ama Jan area of Kandahar city commenced around 12pm and election observers said electoral materials reached late the polling station.
Nasima, a resident of the area, said she arrived at 7am to the polling station and waited for five hours to cast her vote.
There were three polling stations in Malalai High School in Kandahar city, but only one specialized for women was open.
A woman voter, who wished to go unnamed, said only one biometric device was available for three polling stations – a reason only one out of three stations was open.
Farida, an election worker in the polling station, also said there was only one biometric device for the three polling stations.
In third police district of Kandahar city, the biometric device in a polling station there stopped working after two hours.
Safia, a voter in this polling station, told Pajhwok that voters were allowed to cast their votes without biometric verification based on their card identity.
People also complained about late arrival of electoral materials to polling stations and technical problems in Zheri, Panjwai and some other districts of Kandahar.
Some people said female election observers misguided women voters who cast their votes to another candidate.
Despite these problems, thousands of people turned up to take part in the elections.
An elderly man, Abdul Hadi, who cast his vote in the second police district of Kandahar city, said there was no problem during the process there.
Dr. Niamatullah Wardak, the IEC head for Kandahar, agreed problems plagued some polling stations.
He said they sent technical teams to polling stations where problems were reported.
On the other hand, Abdul Hanan Munib, Kandahar acting governor, visited some polling stations and directed officials concerned to resolve election related problems.
A total of 567,000 people have registered as voters in Kandahar. Of them, 73,000 are women, according to local election officials.
As many as 112 people, including 12 women, are contesting the elections in Kandahar where 173 polling centers have been established.


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