KABUL, Afghanistan -- Afghanistan's top prosecutor has opened an investigation into the country's electoral authorities, saying they have not clearly explained their reasoning for throwing out nearly a quarter of the votes cast in September's parliamentary polls, an official said Thursday.
Afghans had hoped the elections would be credible after last year's fraud-marred presidential vote, which soured relations between President Hamid Karzai and his Western allies.
But Deputy Attorney General Rahmatullah Nazari said electoral bodies have not clearly explained their decision to exclude 1.3 million ballots out of 5.6 million cast -- or about 23 percent -- from the Sept. 18 parliamentary election.
He said the attorney general's office has received more than 10 complaints and has sent delegations to the Independent Electoral Commission and the Electoral Complaints Commission to investigate.
Nazari added that each complaint was signed by dozens of failed candidates and others.
It was unclear why the attorney general's office was becoming involved in the electoral process or even if it has the authority to do so. Nazari said his office was responsible for investigating corruption and that some IEC employees could be involved in such practices if they disqualified candidates for personal gain.
Nazari cited one case where a candidate had been barred from running by the ECC, yet accepted as a candidate by the IEC.
"They are not coordinating and cooperating with each other although they are working on the same issue," Nazari said or the electoral commissions.
Noor Mohammed Noor, a spokesman for the IEC, said the attorney general's office was not supposed to investigate electoral complaints unless requested to do so by one of the electoral bodies. Noor said there were no plans to reconsider the exclusion of ballots.
Angry parliamentary candidates and their supporters have staged small demonstrations in the Afghan capital of Kabul for the past two days, protesting the decision to disqualify the votes and alleging fraud. The election commission disqualified the ballots, saying they came from areas where there was evidence of ballot-box stuffing or manipulated totals.