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    Failed candidates renew call for fresh polls

    KABUL(PAN): Hundreds of failed parliamentary candidates staged a demonstration in Kabul on Sunday, renewing their call for a fresh election in the country.

    Around 500 failed poll runners from different provinces denounced the second post-Taliban parliamentary election as "illegitimate", while asking for new polls.

    Sitting MP Kabir Ranjbar, who failed to make it to parliament this time, rejected the election as a farcical exercise. He claimed the winners were not real representatives of Afghans and the polls were "illegitimate and should be voided."

    He called on President Hamid Karzai and the Independent Election Commission (IEC) to facilitate either a recount of all votes or hold a fresh ballot.

    If his demand went unheeded, protests would continue, Ranjbar warned, as Kabul witnessed the third demonstration since the announcement of preliminary results on October 19.

    "People's aspirations have been trampled upon; poll results were doctored transparency compromised," Shima Sikandari, another participant of the protest, told Pajhwok Afghan News.

    However, IEC spokesman, Noor Muhammad Noor insisted the vote had been conducted according to the relevant law and hence no question of re-election.

    He asked the protesting candidates to file their complaints about widespread fraud to Electoral Complaints Commission (ECC) so that the watchdog could take action.

    Final results were originally due on October 30 but the ECC said the outcome would be announced after all complaints were thoroughly investigated. The watchdog believes the final outcome may alter the preliminary results.

    Meanwhile, 30 failed candidates from eastern Nangarhar province also called for fresh elections, accusing IEC and ECC of being biased.

    Speaking at a press conference, Maulvi Abdul Aziz Khairkhwa asked the international community and Afghan judicial bodies to bring chiefs of the two commissions to justice.

    "The leaders of the commissions have spurned the will of Afghans," he said on behalf of the unsuccessful poll contenders.

    Running for a second term, he claimed they had evidence of fraud, corruption and election law violations by the two commissions.

    In Khewa district, Khairkhwa claimed, one candidate received only four votes but the number of his ballots shot up to 164 in Kabul. He said he had evidence of similar instances in the Achin district.

    He disclosed one of candidates from Nangarhar had paid $38,000 in bribe to the IEC, but security officials are not interested in probing the case, according to Khairkhwa.