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    Herat council chief’s election a coup: Saba

    HERAT CITY (PAN): The Herat governor has rejected as 'a coup against him' the election of Syed Wahid Qatali as the provincial council head in the second round. The first round ended in a 9-9 tie between two sitting members.

    Governor Dr. Daud Shah Saba told Pajhwok Afghan News the recent elections were not acceptable to him, insisting the vote had not been fair because a majority of council members were absent.

    The governor said he was informed about the result of the election that involved 12 members and was held in Kabul instead of Herat City by the Independent Directorate of Local Governance (IDLG).

    "The IDLG is acting against the law that the right to rule flows from the sovereign will of the council members, who represent the masses," he remarked.

    Ex-council chief Dr. Abdul Zahir Faizzada claimed he was a candidate for the slot, but IDLG officials did not allow him to participate in the election. He opined the election should have been conducted in Herat in the presence of all members and impartial monitors.

    Another member, Mohammad Zarif, also opposed the election of Qatali. He claimed no ballot had been cast and Qatali was chosen through a hand vote.

    Zarif claimed the vote had been 'massively influenced' by powerful individuals, including some ministers, who allegedly distributed money to council members.

    Last week’s electoral fray between Qatali and Faizzada failed to throw up a clear result. Both received 9 votes each from the 19 members.

    The second round that took place in Kabul was won by Qatali, who received 12 votes -- all from those who had accompanied him to the capital.

    Qatali called the vote 'fraud-free', insisting they had moved to Kabul to ensure 'a fair result.' He said a majority, 12 members, had voted in his favour in the presence of IDLG officials.

    An IDLG official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said elections could be held outside a legal constituency in case the event was threatened. However, he rejected claims that the election was marred by irregularities.

    ma/mud



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