Kabul, July 26 IANS | 5 months ago

The Afghan Independent Election Commission (IEC) Saturday announced that the presidential runoff vote auditing process has temporarily been suspended and will resume after the upcoming Eid festival.

"The audit process of presidential election runoff ballot papers has been suspended until after the Eid holidays," IEC Chief Yousuf Nuristani told a press briefing here.

The top election official also urged the presidential candidates, Abdullah Abdulllah and Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai, to endorse and sign the UN-proposed criteria for recounts and invalidation of ballots as the auditing process has frequently been stopped by their agents due to differences, Xinhua reported.

The Afghan presidential runoff was held June 14 between the two leading presidential hopefuls. Preliminary results showed that Ghani went ahead. However, former foreign minister Abdullah refused to accept the outcome and accused the election commission of committing fraud and demanded a vote recount.

US Secretary of State John Kerry brokered an agreement between the two Afghan presidential candidates July 12, breaking the election deadlock and paving the way for the formation of a national unity government in the country.

Under the agreement, the candidate who secures the majority of the votes in the audit process would become the country's president and his opponent would serve as chief executive, which is tantamount to the position of a prime minister.

The three-day Eid holiday, which marks the end of Ramadan, the Muslim fasting month, may start Monday and the audit will likely resume late next week.

(Posted on 26-07-2014)

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