Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Afghanistan’s Abdullah rejects election outcome --- KABUL, Afghanistan — Afghan presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah said Monday that he will not accept the expected official results of the election, breaking a pledge he made to the U.S. secretary of state and injecting new tension into an already drawn-out political process. -- Appearing tired and nervous, Abdullah told a nationally televised news conference that he believes he won both times Afghans voted this year — in April and again in a June runoff. He accused election authorities of violating the desires of voters by ignoring widespread fraud and preparing to declare his opponent, former Finance Minister Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai, the winner. -- “We were the winners of the election,” said Abdullah. “We are the winners of the election based on the real vote of the people.” -- Abdullah’s announcement effectively pre-empts the country’s election commission, which is expected to announce the second-round results later this week following a weekslong audit process to weed out the many fraudulent ballots cast. The winner would succeed the outgoing president, Hamid Karzai. -- Abdullah and Ghani Ahmadzai had both pledged to Secretary of State John Kerry during a July visit to the country to abide by the audit’s results. The two also agreed to plans to form a government of national unity with participation of the losing side. --- Kerry made a second visit to Afghanistan in August in a bid to keep the peace. The two candidates then pledged to set an inauguration before the end of that month, a date which sailed by without a hint of finality to the now five-month-long election process. -- In Washington, U.S. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said that Kerry had spoken with both candidates on Monday. -- “In our view, the audit process is still ongoing,” Psaki said. “Under the supervision of the United Nations, I think it was confirmed that part of the process had been completed. There’s more that needs to be done. Dr. Abdullah has indicated consistently that he will abide by the constitution, and so we’re continuing to work with the candidates to determine how we can resolve this moving forward.” - Read More, Associated Press, Washingtonpost


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