Afghanistan extends election to Sunday due to chaos at polling stations
Voting in Afghanistan’s parliamentary election will be extended to Sunday in some constituencies after technical and organizational problems stopped voters casting their ballot in some polling centres on Saturday, government officials said.
Abdul Badi Sayad, chairman of Independent Election Commission said the voting process will continue till Sunday in those places where election officers or election material arrived late.
Confusion over biometric voter registration equipment, polling stations not opening on time, missing election materials and delays forcing lengthy waits angered voters on Saturday.
Earlier today, multiple explosions rocked polling centres across Kabul, as voters cast their ballots in long-delayed legislative elections.
Voters were seen fleeing a school in the north of the Afghan capital after a blast, a correspondent said, with witnesses reporting explosions at other polling centres.
Afghans began voting on Saturday in parliamentary elections overshadowed by chaotic organisation, allegations of corruption and violence that has forced a postponement of the vote in the strategic southern province of Kandahar.
The United Nations, which has been supporting the process, has urged Afghans to “use this opportunity to exercise their constitutional right to vote” and called for the election to take place in a safe and secure environment.
Officials worry that violence will keep voters away from polling stations, particularly following the assassination of the police chief of Kandahar on Thursday, which forced authorities to delay the election in the province by a week.
Taliban militants have issued a series of statements telling people not to take part in what they consider a foreign-imposed process and warning election centres may be attacked.
Thousands of police and soldiers have been deployed across the country but already nine candidates have been assassinated and hundreds of people killed and wounded in election-related attacks.