Home>News Center>World

Afghanistan holds first parliamentary vote in 30 years
Updated: 2005-09-18 11:43

KABUL, (AFP) - Polls opened across Afghanistan for the country's first parliamentary elections in more than 30 years, after a campaign of violence by militants from the ousted Taliban who vowed to disrupt the vote.

Around 12.5 million Afghans are eligible to choose a national assembly and provincial councils in the next phase of a difficult transition to democracy launched after the hardline Islamic regime fell in late 2001.

On the ballot papers voters will find a cross section of Afghanistan's strife-torn society, including warlords, drug kingpins, mullahs and -- marking a step forward for the conservative country -- women.

President Hamid Karzai, who won Afghanistan's first presidential election in October 2004, urged his countrymen and women to exercise their new democratic rights.

"Your participation is an important, positive step towards a bright future," he said on national television late Saturday. "Attend the elections with full confidence and vote for your favourite candidate with total freedom."

"The polling stations opened this morning at 6:00 am (0130 GMT)," Bronwyn Curran, spokeswoman for the United Nations-Afghan Joint Electoral Management Body, told AFP.

The 26,000 polling stations, scattered from the parched southern deserts to the northern slopes of the Hindu Kush mountains, are due to close at 4:00 pm (1030 GMT).

Officials say opening hours may be extended to allow for queues and delays as Afghans struggle with the newspaper-sized ballots required to fit in the 5,800 candidates taking part. Full results are not expected until late October.
Page: 12

Clinton Global Initiative Summit
Schwarzenegger seeks re-election in 2006
Suicide bombing kills at least 152 in Iraq
  Today's Top News     Top World News

President Hu ends 10-day trip with call for co-operation



China sets up new oil group to meet demands



China's North Korea proposal hits snags



Summit endorses watered-down UN reform



Mainland population below 1.37 billion by 2010



Music giants sue Baidu over music downloads


  Chavez: US plans to invade Venezuela
  Iran offers to bring foreign firms in program
  Two dead in Chicago train derailment
  Rescuers find 76-year-old survivor in New Orleans
  German election marks crossroads
  WHO warns of a world-wide bird flu epedemic
  Go to Another Section  
  Story Tools  
  News Talk  
  Are the Republicans exploiting the memory of 9/11?