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    Elections may be rigged: Massoud

    KABUL (PAN): Afghanistan National Front (ANF) leader Ahmad Zia Massoud on Thursday alleged the government was trying to stay in power through fraud in the 2014 presidential election.

    Massoud, who addressed a women's gathering in Kabul, said the incumbent regime was out to once again rig next year’s elections. At the same time, the former vice-president claimed the Taliban had intensified attacks to have a big share in the post-2014 government.

    "The government is planning fraud, but the Afghans should not allow it to commit irregularities in the electoral process this time around," Massoud stressed.

    No government official has so far announced standing in the presidential polls, while President Hamid Karzai has ruled out seeking a third term in office.

    Massoud said the alliance would come up with a consensus presidential candidate in consultations with the masses, civil society groups and politicians as part of its struggle for a positive change in the system.

    He promised if their candidate became the president, his first task would be an investigation into the Kabul Bank's scandal. The opposition leader said the government's peace strategy had been a failure.

    "Afghans and the Taliban hold different ideas about life. The mechanism adopted by the government to bring peace and stability cannot overcome that difference," he believed.

    He suggested a meeting of all parties to the conflict, the government, opposition groups and civil society activists to frame a unified policy based on genuine public demands.

    Another ANF member and lawmaker, Mohammad Muhaqiq, said the distribution of computerised identity cards to 30 million people ahead of the elections would be central to a credible vote.

    He said if the government was unable to distribute computerised ID cards until that time, it should prepare new voter lists to minimise the chances of widespread anomalies.

    ma/mud