March 20, 2019 / 3:19 PM / 3 months ago

Afghanistan presidential election postponed to September

FILE PHOTO: An Afghan man casts his vote during the parliamentary election at a polling station in Kabul, Afghanistan October 21, 2018. REUTERS/Omar Sobhani/File Photo

KABUL (Reuters) - Afghanistan’s presidential election has been postponed by two months to Sept. 28, as authorities try to iron out problems with the voting process, the election board said on Wednesday.

The election was pushed back for the second time to allow time for reforms to the voting system, Independent Election Commission spokesman Abdul Aziz Ibrahimi said.

It was originally scheduled for April but was delayed to July 20 due to concerns about winter conditions and security.

Afghanistan’s parliamentary election took place in autumn after months of wrangling and delay.

That vote was marred by accusations of widespread fraud including ballot-stuffing, technical problems with biometric registration equipment, and attacks by Taliban insurgents.

President Ashraf Ghani, Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah and former national security adviser Mohammad Haneef Atmar are among the declared candidates for the presidential election.

It is unclear how recurring peace talks between U.S. officials and the Taliban may affect the election.

The Taliban has so far refused to talk with the Ghani government, which it considers illegitimate.

Reporting by Hamid Shalizi in Kabul; Writing by Rod Nickel; Editing by Catherine Evans and Andrew Cawthorne

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