Sunday, October 10, 2004

840,000 Afghans in Pakistan and Iran voted in Afghan election: IOM - PakTribune

840,000 Afghans in Pakistan and Iran voted in Afghan election: IOM - PakTribune: "840,000 Afghans in Pakistan and Iran voted in Afghan election: IOM
Sunday October 10, 2004 (1430 PST)

ISLAMABAD, October 11 (Online): More than 840,000 Afghans living in Pakistan and Iran voted in Afghanistan's first democratic election for the Presidential Election held on October 9.
Mr. Peter Erben, the Director of IOM's Out of Country Registration and Voting program, which organized the polls in Iran and Pakistan on behalf of the Afghan JEMB and UNAMA, said that the election had been a great success in both Pakistan and Iran.

In Pakistan, the total number of Afghan voters attending the polling stations was 590,0001, representing 80% of the 738,000 who had registered. In Iran, where there was no pre-registration of voters, 260,000 Afghans voted. This represents around half of the Afghans, which were estimated to be eligible to vote; a very satisfactory turnout given that it was a normal working day in Iran, as opposed to Afghanistan and Pakistan where it was a day off.

"IOM believes the turn-out was very satisfactory; the election process ran smoothly, with no major technical or procedural difficulties, and we were able to accommodate all those voters who were eligible and interested in voting," Mr Erben said.

He also praised the Governments of Pakistan and Iran for their assistance, especially for providing security for the process.

"Hundreds of thousands of people were involved in this process and there had been some threats to disrupt the elections," Mr Erben said. "The excellent security provided by both governments was the main reason that we had no major security incidents, and in this regard, we are extremely pleased."

Ballot boxes are now being collected to central secure locations from which they will be flown to Kabul, under tight security, where the ballots will be counted."

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