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Afghanistan election commission proposes voting changes to prevent fraud

The Independent Election Commission of Afghanistan (IEC) [official website] on Saturday drafted [AFP report] proposed amendments to the country's electoral law [text, PDF] in an effort to prevent future election fraud. According to IEC spokesman Noor Mohammad Noor, about 50 percent of the electoral law will be changed, including alterations in parliamentary elections which would allocate one-third of seats to political parties based on proportional representation. The remaining two-thirds of parliament would remain subject to the original system whereby seats are determined by a single, non-transferable vote for one candidate. The IEC's proposed amendments also include a redefinition of its own authority [report, PDF] to further deter election violations. Although the electoral law's proposed changes come in response to allegations of widespread electoral fraud during Afghanistan's 2009 presidential election and 2010 parliamentary elections [IEC backgrounder], the IEC's endeavor will not affect future presidential races.

Last June, a special Afghan court overturned the election results [JURIST report] of about 25 percent of the assembly seats due to poll fraud in the September 2010 parliamentary elections. The ruling came shrouded in controversy, however, as the court was established by President Hamid Karzai [official profile; JURIST news archive] and the decision ordered the IEC, a commission that does not recognize the legitimacy of the special court [AFP report], to disqualify legislators whose elections it deems invalid. The IEC defended itself against allegations of polling fraud [JURIST report] and more than 100 complaints filed by opposition candidate Abdullah Abdullah [WP report] in the wake of Afghanistan's presidential election in 2009. There, Abdullah claimed [JURIST report] that Karzai supporters stuffed ballots, inflated vote counts, and intimidated voters at the polls. Despite the defense, elections in Afghanistan remain marred by these widespread allegations of fraud.

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Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

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