Afghanistan’s President Hamid Karzai has indicated he is open to a second round of voting in the country’s disputed election.
Karzai is under growing international pressure to accept the findings of the Electoral Complaints Commission which says it has found clear evidence of fraud. The Afghan leader can accept a second round run-off vote or work out a deal with his main rival – he’s expected to make an official statement today. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says she is encouraged at the direction of events. “I am very hopeful that we will see a resolution in line with the constitutional order in the next several days.” Abdullah Abdullah is Karzai’s main challenger and says he is ready for a run-off, weather permitting, as the Afghan winter approaches. The UN-backed watchdog, the ECC, has invalidated thousands of votes for the president from August’s poll, reducing Karzai’s share to 48 percent – below the 50 percent threshold required for an outright win. As yet Afghanistan’s Independent Election Commission is still to accept the findings.