- Title: Violence and fraud overshadow Afghanistan poll
- Date: 24th September 2019
- Summary: KABUL, AFGHANISTAN (RECENT - SEPTEMBER 13, 2019) (REUTERS) AFGHAN PRESIDENT AND PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE ASHRAF GHANI WALKING AND WAVING TO PARTICIPANTS IN HIS CAMPAIGN RALLY AT LOYA JIRGA (GRAND ASSEMBLY) TENT GHANI WAVING TO PARTICIPANTS ALONGSIDE HIS ELECTORAL TEAM MEMBERS PARTICIPANTS WAVING AFGHAN FLAGS
- Embargoed: 8th October 2019 05:15
- Keywords: Ashraf Ghani Abdullah Abdullah Afghanistan presidential election Taliban transparency threats security Abdul Moqim Abdulrahimzai analyst
- Location: KABUL, FARYAB, AFGHANISTAN
- City: KABUL, FARYAB, AFGHANISTAN
- Country: Afghanistan
- Topics: Government/Politics,Elections/Voting
- Reuters ID: LVA003AY0LY6F
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Afghans are set to head to polls on Saturday (September 28) to choose the country's new leader.
Some 9.6 million voters have registered, in a country with a population of about 32 million.
Though election officials say preparations are well in hand, security worries could lead many to stay at home, potentially undermining the legitimacy of the eventual winner if turnout is too low. The Taliban have made no secret of their aim of disrupting the election, when President Ashraf Ghani will be bidding for a second five-year term.
A deadly suicide bombing last week near an election rally in central Afghanistan where Ghani was due to speak came as a sharp reminder of the risks to a ballot that has been twice delayed in the shadow of failed peace talks.
Despite the rise in bombings, presidential candidates - including Ghani and his long-term rival Abdullah Abdullah, now serving as the country's Chief Executive as a legacy of the bitterly disputed 2014 election - addressed large public gatherings recently, urging people to cast their vote to defeat the Taliban agenda of circumventing the democratic process.
Marred by accusations of massive fraud on both sides, the 2014 vote left no clear winner, obliging the United States to step in and broker a deal that saw Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah form an unwieldy national unity government.
Senior officials in Kabul said over 140,000 Afghan soldiers and police will be deployed to protect 28,000 polling stations and to facilitate the process that will cost $90 million to the state exchequer and almost $60 million to foreign donors.
(Production: Aziz Mohammad, Mohammad Akram, Sayed Hassib, Hameed Farzad, Phyllis Xu)
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