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September 11, 2009

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Poll Panel Throws Out Karzai Ballots

THE UN-backed commission investigating fraud in Afghanistan's election issued its first orders yesterday to exclude some ballots from the final tally, throwing out votes from 83 polling stations in areas of strong support for President Hamid Karzai.

The August 20 poll has been increasingly marred by reports of ballot-box stuffing and suspicious tallies. A US monitoring group has said "large numbers of polling stations" had more than 100 percent turnout and Karzai's top challenger Abdullah Abdullah has accused him of "state-engineered" fraud.

Karzai currently has more than 50 percent of the preliminary vote count. But if the commission throws out enough votes, he could drop below 50 percent and be forced into a run-off.


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