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Fake polling stations helped Karzai win election, report says

Text by NEWS WIRES

Latest update : 2009-09-07

Supporters of incumbent President Hamid Karzai allegedly created hundreds of fake polling stations across Afghanistan where nobody voted but thousands of votes were recorded in favour of the president, The New York Times reported on Sunday.

AFP - Afghans loyal to President Hamid Karzai set up ahead of last month's elections hundreds of fictitious polling sites, where no one voted but hundreds of thousands of ballots were still recorded toward the president’s re-election, The New York Times reported late Sunday.

Citing unnamed senior Western and Afghan officials, the newspaper said there were as many as 800 such fake sites that existed only on paper.

Local workers reported that hundreds, and in some cases thousands, of votes for Karzai came from each of those places, the report said.

"We think that about 15 percent of the polling sites never opened on election day," the paper quotes a senior Western diplomat as saying. "But they still managed to report thousands of ballots for Karzai."

Karzai’s supporters also took over approximately 800 legitimate polling centers and used them to fraudulently report tens of thousands of additional ballots for the president, The Times said.

The result is that in some provinces, the pro-Karzai ballots may exceed the people who actually voted by a factor of 10, the paper noted.

"We are talking about orders of magnitude," the report quoted a senior Western diplomat as saying.

Date created : 2009-09-07

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