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Afghan election announcement expected within days

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Afghan election announcement expected within days

Post  TP Princess on Tue Oct 13, 2009 3:13 pm

AFGHANISTAN: Afgha - nistan’s electoral authorities are expected to announce their decision on fraud allegations plaguing the presidential election within days but the bitter wrangling is likely to drag on.

Officials said an announcement could be made before the end of the week on who is to be the country’s next president, or whether there will be a run-off between the two main candidates.

Afghans voted on August 20 but the elections have been overshadowed by allegations of fraud, most against incumbent Hamid Karzai, including findings by EU observers that a quarter of all votes, or 1.5 million, were suspicious.

Karzai leads preliminary results with around 55 percent of the vote. He needs 50 percent plus one vote to be declared the winner.

His main rival Abdullah Abdullah has around 28 percent. Preparations have been made for a run-off between the two, which experts say would have to be held as soon as possible as winter snows will soon make large parts of the country impassable.

Almost two months after the vote, patience with the drawn-out process is wearing thin and an international research organisation says those in Karzai’s southern powerbase are so disillusioned they might not vote in a run-off.

The International Council on Security and Development (ICOS), which has a research centre in the Taliban stronghold of Helmand — where turnout is believed to have been well below 10 percent — said sentiment in the region is turning against the election amid disgust over fraud.

“Disillusionment with the election process as a result of the fraud is so high that it could result in a boycott of a second round,” said Norine MacDonald, ICOS president and founder.

“Perceptions of Karzai’s complicity in the fraud and the resulting political dramas have turned his traditional voting base against him, which means if he is confronted with a second round he will have substantial work to do to even get out those votes he got legitimately the first time round.”

Audits of suspicious ballot boxes were finished last week and investigations into fraud complaints should be completed by Wednesday, a source with the Electoral Complaints Commission said, adding the Independent Election Commission should make its decision — declaration or run-off — by the end of the week.


Ref - 13th October 2009 Daily NEWS

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