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Last Updated: Monday, 11 October, 2004, 10:32 GMT 11:32 UK
Boycott clouds Afghan press joy
Official counting Afghan ballots
There are concerns that voting irregularities have cast a shadow

Many Afghan dailies have hailed the country's first direct election with superlatives, describing them as "unprecedented" and "historic".

But many were worried that the boycott by 15 of the 18 candidates over alleged voting irregularities had cast a shadow on the day.

One independent paper speaks of a country in crisis, while another suggests Taleban claims that the poll was a fraud have been proved correct.

The date of 18 Mizan 1383 [9 Oct 2004] will be recorded in Afghan history as a delightful and historic day. On this day, our people went to the polls and cast their votes in a free and democratic atmosphere, after decades of perpetual war and the rule of the gun.

However, some presidential candidates either resorted to boycotting the election or called this historic event a dark day in Afghan history. The candidates have raised these issues because they do not enjoy the support of the people and have no chance of winning the election.

Erada (independent daily)

The election day will be recorded as a positive turning point in the modern history of Afghanistan... The unprecedented turnout of masses of people in the first presidential election has put an end to the totalitarian and despotic systems of government that the Afghan people have suffered over the last decades.

Despite the fact that the 14 presidential candidates unfairly called the legitimacy of the election into question and decided to boycott the election for minor problems, our people do not want their major victory turned into shame and failure... The presidential candidates had better understand that boycotting the election is the right of the people, not theirs.

Anis (state-run daily)

The people's participation in the elections yesterday demonstrated that they want to put an end to terrorism, foreign intervention, warlordism, despotism and harmful rivalries. The era of political deceit and harmful rivalries has ended. Henceforth, we will hold political competitions in a safe and democratic atmosphere.

Hewad (state-run daily)

The Afghan presidential election ended successfully... Despite the fact that certain candidates expressed concern over minor irregularities that occurred during the polling process and decided to boycott the election, their threats could not disrupt the election process as people all over the country determinedly participated in the poll.

Eslah (state-run daily)

The opposition candidates have boycotted the election based on concrete and solid evidence. This has created a climate of crisis in the country... The only way to get out of the crisis is to set up an independent and authorized commission to examine and assess the whole process of the 9 October presidential poll.

Arman-e Melli (independent daily)

Certain presidential candidates had repeatedly expressed concern that there would be cases of fraud and forgery in the election process. The election commission and relevant international institutions should have taken candidates' concerns seriously...

Their negligence and inattention not only caused the candidates' anticipation and speculations to come true, but also proved the Taliban's claims that the election is symbolic and a tool to deceive the people.

Cheragh (independent daily)

BBC Monitoring, based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.

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