Afghan Elections: A Corrupt 'Free-for-All'
Widespread fraud reported in nearly a third of provinces
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 25, 2010 7:48 AM CDT
A girl walks past election posters of parliamentary candidates in Kabul, Afghanistan on Thursday, Sept. 23, 2010.   (AP Photo/Musadeq Sadeq)
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(Newser) – From stuffing ballot boxes to arresting election workers to, incredibly, haggling over the sales price of a vote, Afghanistan's election is so rife with corruption and fraud that the results are questionable in one-third of its provinces, reports the New York Times. And as a test of Afghanistan's nascent democracy, “From an overall democracy-building perspective it does not look rosy,” says one anonymous diplomat.

“In general the election has been a free-for-all, in that different power blocs were putting forward their candidates in different places,” says one expert. With more than 3,000 complaints filed, the corruption appears to have been heavily centered in 13 of the nation's 34 provinces. Voters in 10 provinces were coerced by local armed strongmen, according to interviews conducted by the Times.