John Kerry has rushed to Kabul to meet with Afghanistan’s presidential hopefuls who have been at loggerheads over alleged fraud during last month’s election run-off.
The US Secretary of State spoke with the preliminary winner Ashraf Ghani and his opponent Abdullah Abdullah in an attempt to break the deadlock.
“It is important that whoever is president is recognised by the people as having become president through a legitimate process,” announced Kerry standing beside Abdullah. “The results that were announced on Monday are preliminary, they are neither authoritative nor final. And no one should be stating a victory at this point in time.”
Afghanistan’s election officials released preliminary results giving Ghani 56.44 percent of votes in the second round run-off on June 14, while Abdullah won 43.45 percent.
This was in stark contrast to the first round results which put Abdullah ahead with 44.9 percent, and Ghani coming in second with 31.5 percent.
Hours before Kerry arrived, outgoing president Hamid Karzai endorsed a UN proposal to audit 8,000 polling stations and was supported by Ghani’s camp.
If accepted by Abdullah, the audit could be completed before August 2, the date scheduled for swearing in the next president.
A recount could yet alter the outcome.