Monday, October 11, 2004

Daily Times - Less than 40% Afghan refugees in Iran took part in polls

Daily Times - Site Edition: "Less than 40% Afghan refugees in Iran took part in polls

TEHRAN: Less than 40 percent of eligible Afghan voters living as refugees in Iran took part in Afghanistan’s historic presidential elections, organisers said on Sunday.

The International Organisation for Migration (IOM), charged with providing access to the ballot for Afghans in Iran and Pakistan, said an estimated 260,000 out of 660,000 eligible refugees took part in Saturday’s polling.

The figures were based on reporting from 110 out of the 125 polling centres set up by IOM, together with projections from the remainder. No gender breakdown was immediately available.

The IOM has had just 55 days to organise the out-of-country voting operation in Iran, with a senior UN official here acknowledging is was an “extraordinarily tight operation” given the short timeframe. Organisers spent 21 million dollars organising the polls among refugees in Iran and Pakistan, and claimed to have provided access to the ballot to over 80 percent of the Afghan refugee population here. But turnout was hit by several factors."

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