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Afghan challenger says yes to run-off

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Afghan challenger says yes to run-off


A day after Afghanistan’s president said he would accept a run-off presidential ballot, his main challenger has confirmed he will be taking part.

Former foreign minister Abdullah Abdullah welcomed the decision of the Independent Election Commission to hold a vote on November the 7th. “I thank Mr Karzai for accepting the results yesterday,” he told a media conference. “This helped us progress. I phoned him last night after the announcement of the results that he accepted. I took the initiative and called him to thank him.” Karzai bowed to US and international pressure after a UN-backed panel said it found evidence of massive fraud in a vote held on August the 20th. The heads of more than half of Afghanistan’s district election offices will be replaced for the run-off. But there are warnings that may not be enough to restore confidence, and there is little time for all the logistical preparations. Afghan analyst Haroon Mire said: “Another problem is that the IEC (Independent Election Commission) itself is not trusted by Abdullah’s camp, and I don’t think that they will trust IEC senior members to be in their position for a second round. And president Karzai’s camp don’t trust the ECC’s (Electoral Complaints Commission) workers. So, these are the political questions. I don’t think we will find a solution for all these issues in 15 days.” Security is a big issue in organising a new ballot, with a resurgent Taliban launching attacks and attempting to keep voters away from polling stations.

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