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Abdullah Abdullah has not ruled out a power-sharing deal with rival Hamid Karzai, following his withdrawal from next weekend’s presidential election run-off in Afghanistan.

Abdullah called for a “new political phase” and told his supporters not to launch street protests. “I will let Mr Karzai work it out for himself. I will be in this country. I don’t shut any doors. But, at the same time, I would say that I will stick to those principals which I started during my campaign,” he said. Karzai is set to win a second term of office by default. It remains unclear whether a second round of voting will be held regardless, but his supporters said it was up to the Independent Election Commission to decide. “We are going to respect whatever decision the constitutional authorities are going to take,” said spokesperson Waheed Omar. “The IEC has the mandate to talk about the run-off. We will go with their decision.” Abdullah had wanted the resignation of Afghanistan’s top election official and three ministers as a sign that fraudulent voting would not reoccur.

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