Afghan election vote recount suspended again

Afghan election vote recount suspended again

PanARMENIAN.Net - A recount of votes in the Afghan election has been suspended again, despite being scheduled to restart on Saturday, Aug 2, after the Muslim Eid holiday, according to BBC News.

The breakdown came despite late night phone talks between U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and candidates Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani.

A spokesman for Abdullah said that the UN had not taken his concerns into account.

Both candidates accuse each other of electoral fraud.

It was Kerry's intervention last month in three days of talks in Kabul that led to agreement to carry out a full audit of votes.

The current dispute is over how to deal with ballot boxes found to contain invalid votes. Abdullah wants all of the votes thrown out if some in a box are found to be invalid. But the UN would prefer to discard individual votes not whole boxes.

The head of the UN in Afghanistan, Jan Kubis, said his team wants to count as many valid votes as possible, "thus honoring the courage and determination of the Afghans who voted in both rounds of the presidential election".

Saturday was the date penciled in Afghan diaries for the inauguration of a new president.

Instead President Hamid Karzai is still in power, as the long-running and bitter dispute over who won the election to succeed him continues.

International officials had been hoping that the recount would take three weeks.

Instead it looks as if it will take many months, and still there is no clarity over what the result will mean.

Part of John Kerry's deal involved both candidates accepting a government of national unity, with one as president and the other nominating a prime minister. But there is no clarity over how far power-sharing would go, the BBC says.

Abdullah's vice-presidential running mate, Mohammad Mohaqiq, has accused Karzai of preventing Ashraf Ghani from agreeing to the deal, making his own continuation in office more likely.

Mohaqiq said Karzai would "get himself into a position where is seen as the best choice."

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