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Afghanistan's violence-marred elections enter second day

Over 3 million people out of 8.8 registered voters cast their ballots on Saturday [Anadolu]

Date of publication: 21 October, 2018

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National polling in Afghanistan continues on Sunday in 401 voting centres, including 45 in Kabul.

Parliamentary elections in Afghanistan have entered into a second day following violence and chaos that caused delays and interruptions on the first day of polling.

Independent Elections Commission Chairman Abdul Badi Sayat says over 3 million people out of 8.8 registered voters cast their ballots on Saturday. The biggest turnout was in Kabul and the lowest in southern Uruzgan province.

Polling on Sunday continues in 401 voting centres, including 45 in Kabul.

Twenty-seven civilians and 11 Afghan security forces were killed and more than 100 others wounded in nearly 200 attacks on election day across the country.

At least 10 candidates out of more than 2,500 contesting the lower-house election were killed ahead of the poll.

Most of those standing are political novices, and include doctors, mullahs and journalists. Those with the deepest pockets are expected to win. 

The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, which has spearheaded international efforts to keep Afghan organisers on track, on Friday called on voters to "exercise their constitutional right to vote". 

The poll is seen as a crucial test for next year's presidential election and an important milestone ahead of a UN meeting in Geneva in November where Afghanistan is under pressure to show progress on "democratic processes".

Preliminary results will be released on November 10 but there are concerns they could be thrown into turmoil if the biometric verification devices are broken, lost or destroyed.

Votes cast without the controversial machines will not be counted, the IEC has said.

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