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6. Afghan presidential election delayed again

The Afghan election commission says it will postpone the presidential election scheduled for July by two months. It will be the second delay for the poll.

The Independent Election Commission announced on Wednesday that the presidential poll will be held on September 28 instead of July 20. The presidential election is held every five years.

The postponement is believed to be due to delays in work on a biometric identification system designed to prevent fraud, which will be used for the first time for the presidential poll.

The commission explained that more time is needed to ensure a transparent and fair election.

The presidential election had initially been planned for April but was later delayed until July.

In the previous race in 2014, a recount was held following vote-rigging allegations. It took more than five months before the election results were finally announced.

The commission had sought to use the biometric system to stress that the election is fair, but concern is growing over whether the poll can be held at all after repeated postponements.

President Ashraf Ghani is seeking a second term. Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah, who is the number-two in the Ghani administration, and former national security advisor Mohammad Hanif Atmar have also announced their candidacy.
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