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Afghanistan - Valg 2005: Fredeligt og med stor valgdeltagelse
AFGHANISTAN: High turnout and little violence as nation votes
IRINnews.org, 18. september 2005
Afghanistans første valg i 30 år til landets nationale parlament samt til regionale råd foregik søndag (18. september) under national og international bevågenhed. Valget blev holdt under et meget stort tidspres, men alle foreløbige vurderinger melder om et relativt roligt valg med stor valgdeltagelse. Der er stor spænding om udfaldet, om kvindernes rolle samt om mulighederne for at sammesætte en funktionsdygtig demokratisk regering.
KABUL, 18 Sep 2005 (IRIN) - Afghanistan’s first parliamentary and provincial poll in thirty years passed without major incident on Sunday, with a high degree of voter participation, election officials report.
"The election was held in a peaceful manner…there was also a high level of political awareness and participation amongst the Afghan people," Bimillah Bismal, chairman of the Afghan-UN Joint Electoral Management Body (JEMB) said as polling booths closed across the country.
Despite the huge challenge of providing security and voting materials to thousands of isolated communities, according to the JEMB, of the 6,200 polling centres established across Afghanistan, only 16 were not operational on voting day - an improvement over last October’s presidential poll.
"Unlike last year, this year we were able to hold voting in all 398 districts of Afghanistan whereas last year polling couldn't be conducted in several areas due to security problems," Bismal explained.
Although the government, security forces and foreign peacekeeping forces had been bracing for trouble, election day passed without any significant security incidents, said the chief electoral officer at the JEMB, Peter Erben. "Those that have occurred, were isolated with no significant impact on polling," he said.
Seven election candidates have been killed in militant-linked violence over the past six months. A United Nations warehouse near Kabul came under rocket attack early on Sunday, injuring one UN local staff member.
The former rulers of Afghanistan, the Taliban, who were driven from power in late 2001 by the US-led Coalition and troops from the opposition Northern Alliance (NA), had threatened to attack polling stations and disrupt the election.
In all, some 19 incidents where small arms were deployed to attack polling stations occurred over the 24-hour period preceding the closing of the polls at 16:00 local time, Erben said. But only three voters were injured in these attacks, he added.
"Many of these incidents happened before voting opened this morning, so they didn’t have any significant effect on the election," he noted.
Although there were no figures available yet, JEMB officials said that there had been a high turnout of female voters, citing local officials filing reports of long queues of women in many parts of the conservative south, particularly in the cities of Jalalabad and Kandahar.
By Sunday evening, ballot boxes were being transported to provincial centres to begin the long process of vote counting.
"We still have several areas – isolated and mountainous parts of the country - where the ballot boxes will take three days to get to where the contents will be counted," the CEO said.
Vote counting will officially begin on 20 September, with provisional results expected in 16 days time.