Afghanistan kicks off registration for polls
Afghanistan yesterday began registering thousands of candidates for the war-torn country's parliamentary elections to be held on September 18, an electoral official said.
"Today is the first day for the registration of the candidates for the parliamentary elections," Zakria Barakzai, a senior official at the Independent Election Commission (IEC), told reporters.
President Hamid Karzai last week appointed a new head of the IEC under pressure from his international backers and domestic political groups after last year's fraud-tainted presidential ballot, which saw him re-elected.
A UN-backed election watchdog, the Electoral Complaints Commission, ruled against more than one-third of the votes cast for Karzai, prompting criticism of the electoral body, including accusations of involvement in the rigging.
"I assure the people of Afghanistan that the IEC will be working day and night to ensure free, fair and just elections," said Barakzai, the acting chief electoral officer.
Karzai recently levelled a series of outbursts against the international community, alleging that foreign powers orchestrated the widespread fraud in the August poll, the second presidential election held in Afghanistan.