More than 7m Afghans exercise franchise
KABUL (Pajhwok): More than seven million (over 60 percent) Afghan voters on Saturday exercised their franchise in the landmark presidential and provincial polls, the Independent Election Commission announced.
IEC Chairman Mohammad Yousaf Nuristani told a news conference in Kabul that 3.5 million people, including 36 percent women, voted before 12.00 noon. He hailed people's wide participation as an expression of confidence in the system.
Until 5pm, when the voting process closed, over 7 million had cast their ballots, he estimated, praising the high voter turnout despite insurgent threats of attacks and rainy weather.
Nuristani acknowledged there had been technical problems, but they would not recur in future elections. He said 211 voting sites across the country could not open, but six of them started work later in the day.
Should the election go to the runoff stage, the commission was all poised to deal with the challenge, he said, explaining the panel had made the requisite preparations, including the finances involved.
Also present on the occasion was IEC Secretary Ziaul Haq Amarkhel, who hoped the candidate would wholeheartedly respect the public mandate and accept election results.
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