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Abdullah's observers to rejoin audit process, says UN body

Posted on Aug 04 2014 | IANS

Kabul, Aug 3 : The UN mission in Afghanistan Sunday said presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah has agreed to his team rejoining a controversial vote auditing after the process has been delayed four times since it began July 17.

Afghanistan's third presidential election was held April 5 wherein Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai emerged as front runners and entered the runoff.

The runoff vote was held June 14, during which Ghani Ahmadzai secured 56.44 percent of the total votes of more than 8 million, and Abdullah, who ranked first in the first round, garnered 43.56 percent of the votes.

Earlier in the day, Abdullah Abdullah's team Sunday accused Vice President Mohammad Karim Khalili of siding with opponent Ahmadzai and involvement in electoral fraud, Xinhua reported.

Before this, the Afghan election body restarted the process in absence of Abdullah's observers who did not attend over differences concerning a number of issues including annulment of ballots.

"The Reform and Partnership Team has informed the United Nations that it will attend the Audit Technical Committee meeting tonight and will resume its participation in the audit process tomorrow," Xinhua reported citing the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) as saying in a statement.

A member of Abdullah's team also confirmed that they will join the audit process Monday morning.

Before the announcement of runoff results early last month, Abdullah rejected the outcome of the polls, accusing the Election Commission of committing fraud and vowed not to accept the election results unless his demands for recounting and separating the genuine votes from the fake ones are met.

To end the election deadlock, US Secretary of State John Kerry and the UN mission began mediation between the two candidates and have convinced them to accept the results after a vote auditing process.

Under the agreement brokered by Kerry, the candidate securing more votes will become the president and the other candidate would become chief executive, a post tantamount to premier in the new government.

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