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Mon, 21 Oct 2019 19:03 - Updated Mon, 21 Oct 2019 19:02

Afghan Election Results Delayed

ISLAMABAD - Afghanistan's Independent Election Commission (IEC) confirmed Saturday it had delayed the planned release of preliminary results of the Sept. 28 presidential polls.

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The commission's chief, Hawa Alam Nuristani, made the widely anticipated announcement at a late evening news conference in Kabul on the day the commission was supposed to officially deliver first results. 
 
Nuristani apologized to Afghans for not being able to meet the deadline, but she defended the decision to delay the results, saying it would "further ensure the transparency of the [electoral] process" and restore the people's confidence in it. 
 
The chief election commissioner promised to release preliminary results as soon as possible but did not say exactly when that would happen. 
 
Two senior IEC members, while speaking to VOA on Friday, predicted results would be delayed by at least one week.  Problems from the start
 
Election officials said they had from the outset faced issues in collecting and transferring massive amounts of data to the main IEC computer server from biometric devices used to record voter fingerprints and pictures. A time-consuming exercise of identifying fraudulent votes was cited as another major factor for the slow data entry. 
 
The fourth Afghan presidential election was already under scrutiny for a record-low turnout of about 26 percent and allegations of fraud. The final turnout was expected to drop further as the IEC was expected to disqualify an estimated 700,000 of the 2.7 million votes cast last month for not meeting anti-fraud rules. Voanews

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