KABUL (Pajhwok): Ahmad Yusuf Nuristani, chairman of the Independent Election Commission (IEC), on Saturday asked all eligible voters to throng to polling stations and cast ballot by defying all threats.

Nuristani exercised his vote right as ballot process formally started at 7:00 am on Saturday throughout the country.

Speaking to reporters, Nuristani asked Afghans to participate in the democratic process and demonstrate enthusiasm as they did in the first round of elections.

“My message to all eligible Afghans is that to cast your vote and challenge the enemies of Afghanistan this way,” he said, praising Afghan security forces for tight security measures throughout the country.

He said a total of 6,365 polling centres, with 23,000 polling stations were opened today in the country and the IEC had transferred enough ballot papers to facilitate all eligible voters.

Keeping in view the experience of the April 5 ballot, this time the process would be more transparent. If any IEC official or staff found involved in election affairs in favour of any candidate then tough action would be taken against him, he warned.

On alleged reports of ballot stuffing in Paktika, he said: “We have heard about ballot stuffing in Paktika province. We are confirming the ground reports.”

Dr. Abdullah Abdullah and Dr. Ashraf Ghani were the leading candidates contested in the second round of elections. The final result of the election is set to be announced on July 22.

mds/rm

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