Afghanistan's election commission was preparing to announce a final result in the country's disputed election on Tuesday, as President Hamid Karzai looked set to agree to a run-off amid mounting global pressure.
The U.N.-backed Electoral Complaints Commission (ECC) sent its long-awaited findings of an investigation into fraud in the Aug. 20 poll and the Afghan Independent Election Commission (IEC) is now assessing the report and will announce on Tuesday if Karzai will face a run-off.
"Our commissioners are meeting now to discuss the figures sent by the ECC and will announce a final decision today," IEC spokesman Noor Mohammad Noor said.
The U.S. group Democracy International said the ECC report showed the number of votes invalidated by the U.N.-backed group pushed Karzai's total below the 50 percent needed to avoid a run-off. Provisional results had given Karzai 54.6 percent.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said she expected word from Karzai on Tuesday and hoped for a quick solution.
Clinton told reporters, "I am very hopeful that we will see a resolution in line with the constitutional order in the next several days."
Karzai indicated in private meetings this week, including with Senator John Kerry, he would be open to taking part in a run-off with his main challenger, Abdullah Abdullah, but did not commit to a specific timetable, Western sources told Reuters.
But officials cautioned that Karzai could still change his mind and there was likely to be intense political haggling.
The United States cannot wait for problems surrounding the Afghan government's legitimacy to be resolved before making a decision on troops, U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said late on Monday.
Casualties are rising among the 68,000 U.S. troops already in Afghanistan and many Americans are tiring of war.
However, the U.S. and NATO commander in Afghanistan, General Stanley McChrystal, has recommended sending 40,000 additional soldiers.
Last Mod: 20 Ekim 2009, 15:57