Afghan Karzai vote 'below 50 per cent': UN-backed watchdog

Afghanistan's U.N.-backed election watchdog sent its long-awaited ruling over fraud investigations into the Aug. 20 presidential poll to the country's election commission.

Afghan Karzai vote 'below 50 per cent': UN-backed watchdog

Afghanistan's U.N.-backed election watchdog on Monday sent its long-awaited ruling over fraud investigations into the Aug. 20 presidential poll to the country's election commission.

"Now that we have the ECC (U.N.-backed Electoral Complaints Commission) orders, we expect IEC (Independent Election Commission) to implement those orders with haste and move swiftly to issue the final certified results or the need for a runoff as required by Afghan electoral law," said Aleem Siddique, a spokesman for the United Nations in Kabul.

If the Electoral Complaints Commission probe determines there are enough fraudulent votes to tip President Hamid Karzai's vote below 50 percent, the incumbent will face a second round against his main challenger, former foreign minister Abdullah Abdullah.


It was not immediately clear whether the findings, presented as a dense report backed with dozens of pages of technical details, meant there should be a second round.

But it did mean provisional results which gave Karzai 54.6 percent of the vote to Abdullah's 28 percent would almost certainly have to be changed.

The ECC said in a statement accompanying the findings that the Afghan election authorities were now "responsible for adjusting candidates' vote totals in accordance with the ECC's decision before it may certify the final result".

In the first public criticism of the investigation coming from Karzai's side, a senior member of his election team said the ECC procedure was wrong.

"The campaign office of Hamid Karzai criticises the formula (used by ECC) for dealing with suspect votes," Mohammad Moin Marastyal, a senior member of Karzai's team and a member of parliament, said of the investigation.

"This (procedure) is not correct and this has brought down Karzai's tally ... Effort has been made to lower Karzai's vote to below 50 (percent). Now we are in a deadlock."

Karzai has long warned against a second round and has hinted the ECC's fraud investigation could have involved foreign meddling.

Officials and diplomats had earlier said the ECC's findings were expected to cut Karzai's tally to below 50 percent.



Reuters

Last Mod: 19 Ekim 2009, 17:03
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