KABUL (PAN): The European Union Election Observation Mission (EUEOM) Tuesday voiced deep concern at what it called 'a very large number of irregularities' in the presidential elections held on August 20.

Earlier in the day, the UN-backed Electoral Complaints Commission (ECC) notified the rigging at hundreds of polling stations across the country and ordered the Independent Election Commission (IEC) to recount the fraudulent returns.

In the counting process, the EU said, the findings of its election observers confirmed that large-scale ballot stuffing took place at polling stations level.

Despite the legal provisions on fraud detection and mitigation measures established by the IEC, it added, hundreds of thousands of fraudulent votes were accepted at the tally centre and were included among the preliminary official results.

"The EU EOM has checked all the uploaded preliminary results on the IECs website implementing the triggers established by the IEC. Of a total of 18.877 tallied polling stations on September 6, there were 2.451 polling stations where more than 90% of the votes were cast for a single candidate, i.e. 566.076 votes."

According to the statement, the EU mission has also identified 214 polling stations where the number of votes cast exceeded the limit of likely voters assigned to that location.

"In these polling stations the total votes cast correspond to 138.000 votes. The EU EOM endorses and strongly supports the decision by the Electoral Complaints Commission announced earlier today."

It called on the Independent Election Commission and its Chairman Dr. Lodin to take all the necessary actions in accordance with the Electoral Law and the regulations of Afghanistan.

The EU mission praised the commitment of the millions of Afghan citizens who, in spite of threats and intimidation, cast their vote on Election Day and.

However, it deeply regretted that a minority of people flouted the law by seeking to manipulate the results of the elections and so to deny the Afghan people a legitimate, democratic choice of president.

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