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Updated: October 20, 2009 18:34 IST

Karzai expected to accept vote result that could force runoff

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Hamid Karzai, the President of Afghanistan. File Photo: V. V. Krishnan
The Hindu Hamid Karzai, the President of Afghanistan. File Photo: V. V. Krishnan

Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai is expected on Tuesday to accept a verdict by a UN-backed election fraud investigation that would force him into a second round of voting with his main challenger, Abdullah Abdullah, officials said.

An official from the UN-backed Election Complaints Commission (ECC) on Monday delivered its findings on thousands of suspicious ballots cast in the August 20 presidential election to the Independent Election Commission (IEC), which must certify the much-awaited final outcome.

The ECC did not say if its rulings would affect the preliminary results that gave Mr. Karzai an outright victory with nearly 55 per cent of the vote. But the US-based group Democracy International said in a statement that the incumbent’s share of vote was below the 50 per cent needed for a first-round victory.

Mr. Karzai has been under increased pressure from his government’s Western allies to accept that outcome and face the runoff vote.

Mr. Karzai’s office said the president would hold a press conference on Tuesday afternoon, while a United Nations source said he was expected to accept the ECC’s results.

A US embassy source also said that US Democratic Senator John Kerry was at the fortified Afghan presidential palace for talks with the president regarding the election.

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