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Poll time: Afghans step out to vote

An estimated 12 million eligible voters may have voted to elect new president in the first democratic transfer of power through polling

Kabul: Voting in Afghanistan’s presidential and provincial council elections concluded yesterday and counting of ballots began, a senior election official said. The voting was relatively peaceful despite some attacks and complaints.


An Afghan man shows his voter registration card after casting her ballot during the presidential elections in Kunduz, Afghanistan. Afghanistan began voting for a new president amid fears of violence and insecurity. Imagelibrary/EPA

Militants launched several attacks in 12 of the country’s 34 provinces, killing at least one person and injuring others. Earlier, Election Commission of Afghanistan (IEC) Chairman Ahmad Yousuf Nouristani extended the polling time by an hour to help facilitate people to cast their votes. “I have visited three election centres in western Kabul. Still I failed to vote.

I put myself in danger on a rainy day. I am afraid of losing my right of franchise during this election,” Kabul resident Mohammad Naqib.

More than 12 million eligible voters, 35 per cent of them women, were expected to cast their ballots. The provincial runners, including 380 women, are vying for 458 seats in the provincial councils or assemblies, including 96 seats for women.

The leading presidential candidates are former foreign ministers Abdullah Abdullah and Zulmai Rassoul as well as former finance minister Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai.

The preliminary results will come out on April 24 and the final result will be announced in mid May.

Nouristani also said that a total of 959 polling stations, including 211 new ones, were kept shut for security reasons.

Afghans began voted elect a new president for the next five years, in the first democratic transfer of power through polling in the country’s history.

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