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Afghan Voters Reach Mid-Way Point At Reg. Centres

Afghan Voters Reach Mid-Way Point At Open Registration Centres? UN

More than half the Afghans eligible to enrol in the first phase of the voter registration drive for national elections have already done so, the United Nations announced today.

Of the potential maximum 2.5 million voters in the eight cities where registration has already begun, more than 1.27 million have signed on, a spokesman for the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), Manoel de Almeida e Silva, told the press in Kabul.

Overall, Afghanistan has an estimated 10 million potential voters for the elections, scheduled to take place this year, but centres have so far been opened only in Kabul, Kunduz, Kandahar, Gardez, Herat, Mazar, Bamyan and Jalalabad. Phase II of the registration drive is set to begin in May.

Only 27 per cent of those registered to date are women. In a bid to bring out the female vote in a country where women's rights were severely restricted under the previous Taliban regime, some 600,000 extra posters and 300,000 leaflets are to be distributed beginning this week.

Printed in both Dari and Pashto, the principal Afghan languages, they say: "Women cast your vote... your vote is important... register your names in order to vote and participate in the reconstruction of your country."

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