The United Nations and western governments have rushed to congratulate President Hamid Karzai’s return to power in a bid to shore up the Afghan leaders legitimacy after a flawed election.
The second round run-off was deemed needless after Karzai’s only challenger withdrew. While the US and Europe are keen to back the president in the battle to stabilise the country, that support is qualified. US President Barack Obama gave his reaction during a visit from Sweden’s prime minister. “I spoke with President Karzai and I congratulated him…. This has to be a point in time in which we begin to write a new chapter based on improved governance, a much more serious effort to eradicate corruption, joint efforts to accelerate the training of Afghan security forces so that the Afghan people can provide for their own security. But as I indicated to him, the proof is not going to be in words, its going to be in deeds,” Obama said. Karzai is being seen as the legitimate winner mainly because his opponent Abdullah Abdullah decided to pullout rather than boycott the second round. The latter could have meant the vote having to go ahead with doubts of further violence. Despite losing, Abdullah has emerged in a much stronger position as the leader of a previously divided opposition. “On the basis of what I started I will continue my contributions and commitments toward the country,” he said. Although the Karzai camp has ruled out a power-sharing deal, the weakened president is expected to offer the opposition some key government posts in an attempt to present a government of consensus.