News & Politics

Under U.S. Pressure, Karzai To Accept Run-Off Election

Nevertheless, the path to resolving the political crisis remains uncertain.

Under heavy pressure from the Obama administration, Afghan President Hamid Karzai appears set to concede today that he fell short of a first-round victory in the nation’s disputed presidential election. But the path to resolving the political crisis remains uncertain. Officials said Karzai was moving toward accepting the findings of a United Nations audit that stripped him of nearly a third of his votes. This leaves Karzai below the 50 percent threshold that would have allowed him to avoid a runoff and declare victory over his main rival, Abdullah Abdullah. TheNew York Times reports some Obama administration officials are now quietly pushing for Karzai and Abdullah to form a coalition government to avoid a runoff altogether. Earlier today Abdullah called for the formation of an interim government to shepherd the country through the winter if it’s too difficult or dangerous to organize a runoff in the coming weeks. Meanwhile the Times of London reports Afghanistan's security chiefs have been ordered to make emergency preparations for a second round of voting. United Nations spokesperson Aleem Seddique said the international community is ready to assist with the run-off.

Aleem Seddique: "Preparations are already well underway for a run-off, all the voting materials that are required to conduct a run-off are now in country, distribution will begin next week if the Independent Election Commission announces the need for a run-off, so on the part of the United Nations we are standing ready to assist the electoral authority of this country to conduct that run-off, if it's required."