Afghanistan presidential hopefuls agree to ballot recount following US mediation

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Afghanistan presidential hopefuls agree to ballot recount following US mediation

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After meeting for the first time since the election on June 14, Afghanistan’s presidential hopefuls Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah consented to a hundred percent audit of ballots.

US Secretary of State John Kerry announced both men had agreed to abide by the outcome of the UN-supervised recount, which is expected to take several weeks to complete.

“Both candidates have committed to participate in and abide by the results of the largest and most comprehensive audit,” Kerry told a news conference.

“Every single ballot that was cast will be audited,” he continued.

Preliminary results put Ghani in the lead by almost a million votes.

He had earlier called for a partial recount of votes following allegations by Abdullah and his supporters that the election was rigged.

“We ask the electoral commissions, and especially the complaints commission, to inspect and recount the votes from 7,100 polling stations,” he said following the announcement of the preliminary results. “This includes over three million ballots for both candidates across the country.”

Abdullah dismissed the outcome as a coup against the Afghan people.

Afghanistan is heavily dependent on international aid; particularly from the US.

Washington warned it would withdraw its support if anyone tried to take power illegally.

The deadlock dashed US hopes of a smooth transition of power. It is waiting to sign a crucial security pact with the incoming president to allow a small group of US soldiers to stay in Afghanistan beyond the end of the year.

Both candidates have agreed to sign the deal promptly upon taking power.