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Afghan voters all but certain to go back to polls

[ 2009-10-20 13:09]     字号 [] [] []  
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Fraud investigators have thrown out hundreds of thousands of ballots for Afghanistan's president from the country's disputed August election. The report sets the stage for a runoff between him and his top challenger.

A UN-backed panel yesterday released its findings after nearly two months of investigations. Investigators did not provide exact figures.

International officials said the panel determined that President Hamid Karzai's total fell below the 50 percent needed for outright victory. But a separate commission has yet to accept the findings and call for a second-round vote. That commission had questioned some of the findings.

"Now that we have the ECC (UN-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 UN spokesman in Kabul.

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

"Our information is that Karzai has fallen to 47 or 48 percent and that the election will go to a second round," Abdullah's campaign spokesman Sayed Aqa Sancharaki said yesterday.

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

On a visit to Beijing last week, Afghan Vice President Abdul Karim Khalili said he thought it unlikely that the UN report would lead to a runoff. But he ridiculed a report last week that some tribal leaders were tired of the election and would not participate, while others said it was not safe to rerun the vote.

"The Afghan constitution defines the responsibility of the Afghan people," he said. "If the authority demands a run-off election, people will obey the rule." The vice president noted that Afghans went to the polls the first time despite bombing threats from the Taliban.

(英语点津 Helen 编辑)

Afghan voters all but certain to go back to polls

About the broadcaster:

Afghan voters all but certain to go back to polls

Casey Chin is an intern at the China Daily's website. When he's not shooting or producing videos he's trying to learn Chinese. He's from Sacramento, California (no he doesn't know Arnold Schwarzenegger) and he just graduated from the University of Hawaii at Manoa with a degree in journalism.