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President Karzai vows to 'respect constitutional order' after vote fraud ruling

Afghan President Hamid Karzai pledged Monday to "fully respect the constitutional order" after a UN-backed election probe declared 1.3 million votes invalid in the August 20 elections.

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AFP - Afghan President Hamid Karzai pledged Monday to "fully respect the constitutional order" after a UN-backed election probe appeared to wipe out an outright polls win, a UN spokeswoman said.

In telephone talks UN chief Ban Ki-moon urged Karzai "to respect the constitutional process and he was pleased to hear that the president says he will fully respect the constitutional order," UN spokeswoman Michele Montas said.

The findings by the Electoral Complaints Commission (ECC) raise the prospect that Karzai will either be forced into run-off elections or enter intense negotiations to stitch together a national unity government.

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"No one underestimates the challenges, there are security challenges, there are weather challenges," Montas said, adding the UN was prepared to help organize a run-off if needed.

"However, the need for a second round cannot be dictated by the difficulties that are faced... what we want essentially is to have a credible government for Afghanistan."

The ECC refused to divulge corrected results, but said it had ordered results from 210 polling stations thrown out.

Based on the panel's figures some one million votes cast for Karzai in the August 20 vote have been deemed invalid, giving the president only 48.29 percent of the vote, below the 50 percent threshold for an outright win.

The adjusted figures would put rival Abdullah Abdullah now on 31.5 percent.

The UN spokesman in Kabul, Aleem Siddique, earlier called on the Independent Election Commission (IEC) -- the final arbiter of the election results -- to "move swiftly to announce either a final certified result or the requirement for a second round."

Montas said: "We have been preparing for a possible run-off, now the ECC has published its orders and now it is for the IEC to implement them."

 

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