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Saturday, October 09, 2004

BBC NEWS | South Asia | Afghan vote ends in controversy

BBC NEWS | South Asia | Afghan vote ends in controversy: "Afghan vote ends in controversy
Afghanistan's first-ever presidential election has passed off peacefully, but ended in controversy as opposition candidates called for a boycott.
The move followed claims of voting irregularities.
Interim President Hamid Karzai - who is expected to win - said the result should be respected and praised Afghans for participating 'massively'.
He urged everyone to await the verdict on the voting process by the joint UN-Afghan Election Commission.
The dispute centres on the supposedly indelible ink that had been dabbed on to voters' thumbs to show they voted. Many voters were able to wipe the ink off.
I don't trust these elections - I voted an hour ago but, as you can see, there is no trace of the ink on my fingers
Khwaja Malang
Tajik voter from Panjshir

Despite the wrangling among the candidates, BBC correspondents around Afghanistan have reported great levels of enthusiasm among ordinary people for the democratic process.
Mr Karzai - who has led the country since the fall of the hard-line Islamic Taleban in 2001 - bluntly dismissed the candidates' complaints.
'Who is more important, these 15 candidates or the millions of people who turned out today to vote?' he asked journalists in Kabul.
'Safe and orderly'
Mr Karzai said all the candidates 'should respect our people, because in the dust and snow and rain, they waited for hours and hours to vote'.
Earlier a senior United Nations official helping supervise the vote said that 'overall it has been safe and orderly'.
'The vote will continue because halting the vote at this stage is unjustified and would deny these people their right to vote,' Ray Kennedy said.
Security was "

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