Afghanistan’s President Hamid Karzai is facing a run-off vote after a UN-backed fraud investigation is said to have deemed his election victory invalid.
Observers say the results from 210 polling stations have been declared “fraudulent” and the UN is urging Karzai’s team to respond. UN spokesman Aleem Seddique said: “Now that the Electoral Complaints Commission has published its orders, we expect the Independent Election Commission of Afghanistan to move swiftly to implement those orders and announce either the final certified results or the need for a run-off as required by Afghanistan’s electoral law.” The Electoral Complaints Commission probe is said by diplomats to have determined there were enough fraudulent votes to tip President Hamid Karzai’s support below 50 percent, to 48 percent. This means the incumbent should now face a second round against his main challenger, former foreign minister Dr Abdullah Abdullah. The ECC said it had found “clear and convincing evidence of fraud” at the polling stations involved. It is not clear how Hamid Karzai will react to the findings, amid reports of a possible legal challenge.