10/20/2009, 00.00
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Karzai, without 50% of votes may face runoff

Fraud in 210 polling stations for an estimated million votes. Karzai at 48.3%. The decision for a new election lies with the Independent Electoral Commission, appointed by Karzai. The U.S. says it will not send more troops unless there is a credible government. But the real problem is still security.

Kabul (AsiaNews / Agencies) – By today or tomorrow we should know whether Afghanistan will have to vote again for its president, after the Electoral Commission, supported by the UN, made public data of many incidents of fraud that occurred in voting on  August 20. The Commission is putting into question the results of 210 polling stations, where Hamid Karzai accumulated about 1 million votes. In several cases it was found that the cards all had the same sign; in others the results do not coincide with the number of ballots deposited in the ballot box; in others still there are no signatures of controllers on the final results.

According to independent calculations of Democracy International, Karzai is not at 54% - as previously declared - but only 48.3%. Since victory is assured only if a candidate gains more than 50%, it is possible that the whole country must return to vote in a runoff election between Mr. Karzai and his main rival, Abdullah Abdullah, who took 28% of the vote. According to the Afghan constitution, it is the Independent Electoral Commission - appointed by Karzai – that has the ultimate authority to make the decision to re-run the election. The Commission has called for "one or two days" to evaluate the results. The fear is that a new election would only increase the instability of the country.

The White House has taken its cue from situation to clarify that the U.S. will not send more troops to Kabul until there is a credible government. For some time the U.S. commander Stan McChrystal has been calling for an increase of 40 thousand troops to ensure security in Afghanistan, but President Obama has postponed the decision so as not to displease his electorate.

Experts note that the problem of past elections in Afghanistan, rather than fraud, was the low participation of the population: about 50% of the population. And this because of the lack of security in the country and the Taliban threat.


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