Election officials have finally announced the results from 33 out of 34 Afghan provinces. Over 20 preliminary winners have been disqualified. Protesters in Kabul said the whole process was corrupt and shameful.
Most of the 249 winners were independents
Some 2,500 candidates, including over 400 women, ran for 249 available seats in the Wolesi Jirga, the lower house of parliament, in the polls that took place on 18 September. It was the second parliamentary election in Afghanistan since the fall of the Taliban.
Thousands of complains of fraud and irregularities led to the announcement of the results being delayed.
Over a quarter of the votes were ruled invalid
More than 1.3 million votes, almost a quarter of the total ballots, were ruled invalid by the election authorities.
One in 10 preliminary winners disqualified
Moreover, the UN-backed Electoral Complaints Commission disqualified almost one in 10 of the candidates who had won according to preliminary results. Some were government officials who had failed to resign from their posts before running in the elections.
The disqualified candidates reportedly also include allies of President Hamid Karzai. One is thought to be his first cousin.
The Independent Election Commission (IEC) tried to downplay the controversy on Wednesday. "With all the shortcomings it was a major success for us, the Afghan government, people of Afghanistan and our international friends," IEC chairman Fazel Ahmad Manawi announced.
Afghanistan's Election Commission Chairman Fazel Ahmad Manawi described the polls as a "success"
It announced the results for 33 out of 34 Afghan provinces. Results still need to be clarified for the volatile province of Ghazni southwest of Kabul.
An IEC spokeswoman said that once this had been decided, a new parliament might be formed in a week or so.
The IEC is also being investigated by the attorney general's office with regard to allegations of fraud.
Protests outside presidential palace
150 angry candidates and their supporters gathered outside President Karzai’s palace on Wednesday, carrying banners saying that the IEC was the "enemy of democracy."
"Blocking the road and launching violence because they have not got a seat is not the right thing to do and is a malicious act against the country," Karzai said.
69 women candidates won seats in the Wolesi Jirga
Once again, the credibility of Karzai's government has come into question at a time when US and NATO officials are reviewing their role in Afghanistan.
Just last weekend, NATO announced it would withdraw by the end of 2014, handing over responsibility for the security forces to the Afghan military and army.
act / Reuters / dpa / AFP
Editor: Manasi Gopalakrishnan