EU says Afghan elections 'generally fair'

Saturday 22 August 2009 22.05
Afghanistan - Presidential and council elections on Thursday
Afghanistan - Presidential and council elections on Thursday

The chief EU election observer has said Afghanistan's elections were generally good and fair, but not free in some parts of the country due to violence and intimidation.

Philippe Morillon reserved judgment on whether the elections had been credible, saying the process had just begun.

The former French general is heading the EU mission monitoring Afghanistan's presidential and provincial elections.

Mr Morillon said: 'Free was not the case in some parts of the territory due to terror installed.'

He stressed it was still early days in assessing the presidential and provincial council elections.

'Generally what we have observed was considered by our observers with our methodology good and fair,' he added.

The election, which took place on Thursday, has been widely hailed as a success by the international community.

'We can say it is a victory, a victory for the Afghan people,' Mr Morillon said, recognising that the Taliban threat to sabotage the vote was real.

Mr Morillon said there were 270 incidents around the time of polling, which resulted in a limited number of casualties.

President Hamid Karzai and his main rival former foreign minister Abdullah Abdullah have both cited figures from their own election observers across the country as showing them in the lead.

The Independent Election Commission has said the victor will not be announced until 3 September.