There will be no second round of voting in Afghanistan’s disputed presidential election, which had been scheduled for next Saturday. Hamid Karzai has been declared the winner following the withdrawal of his rival, the former foreign minister Abdullah Abdullah.
The announcement was made by the country’s Independent Election Commission at a news conference in Kabul. Earlier the commission had expressed fears about security. The news came as the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon arrived in Afghanistan. He is due to hold talks with Hamid Karzai and his former rival for the presidency. Last week an attack by gunmen on a United Nations guesthouse left 11 dead including five UN staff. Following Abdullah Abdullah’s withdrawal, the government-appointed election commission said that a second round would not have given Karzai legitimacy and it would also have cost the lives of many people, given the Taliban’s threats to disrupt the vote.