2014-07-11 10:12:42

Kerry warns of danger to Afghan election legitimacy

US Secretary of State John Kerry has warned that the legitimacy of the Afghan election is in the balance. Kerry was on a swiftly arranged visit to Kabul to try to resolve the ongoing presidential election dispute.
Kerry said on Friday that there was still hope of resolving Afghanistan's election dispute, but warned against complacency. The secretary of state was in the country for talks with the country for talks between presidential contenders Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani, as well as Afghan President Hamid Karzai.

"We are at a very, very critical moment for Afghanistan," said Kerry, hours after he arrived in the Afghan capital. "The election legitimacy hangs in the balance, the future potential of the transition hangs in the balance, so we have a lot to do," who arrived in Kabul on Friday for the hastily arranged visit.

Hope remained that a solution to the impasse would be found, said Kerry, but he warned "we can't say that's an automatic at this point."

According to preliminary results from Afghanistan's Independent Election Commission, Ghani won the second round of voting on June 14 with 56.44 percent of the vote. Abdullah, who won the first round of voting, garnered 43.56 percent.

Final official numbers are due on July 22, pending an investigation into vote fraud.

Abdullah, a former anti-Taliban fighter who once served as Afghanistan's foreign minister has condemned the alleged vote-rigging as a "coup against the people."

While Karzai, who is constitutionally barred from serving a third term as president, has stayed publicly neutral in the election, he is accused by Abdullah supporters of helping to fix the vote in Ghani's favor.

(agencies, imedia)

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