11 Sep 2009

Invalid votes for Karzai now being excluded

4:07 pm on 11 September 2009

The Electoral Complaints Commission in Afghanistan has begun invalidating ballots cast in the presidential elections.

The commission says it is excluding votes cast at dozens of polling stations in Kandahar, Ghazni and Paktika provinces on 20 July.

Nearly all the votes were cast in favour of incumbent president, Hamid Karzai, who won with about 54% of all votes.

However, US special envoy Richard Holbrooke says it's too early to reject the vote in its entirety.

Meanwhile, the BBC reports the main challenger has accused Mr Karzai of manipulating the Independent Election Commission overseeing the vote count.

Dr Abdullah Abdullah says the election is being stolen from the Afghan people. He insists the commission is anything but independent.

The commission has reported vote-rigging at hundreds of polling stations.