Kabul, Aug 27 IANS | 4 months ago

Afghanistan presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah Wednesday boycotted the audit of votes cast in June, sparking a fresh crisis in the country.

A day after threatening to boycott the process, which they consider to by "politically influenced", observers from Abdullah's party did not show up for the audit.

"We warned yesterday (Tuesday) that if our demands are not taken into account, our observers would not be present in the audit and that we would boycott the process," Abdullah's party member Mujib Rahman Rahimi said.

Despite the boycott, the counting of the 8.1 million votes cast June 14, the second round of the presidential elections continues, although in the absence of the members of the two candidates' parties.

"If Abdullah's observers are not present we cannot allow those of (Ashraf) Ghani to continue with the process. International and national observers will carry out the process," election commission's deputy chairman Abdul Rahman Hotaki said.

The Afghan political crisis was triggered off when Abdullah refused to accept preliminary results of the second round that showed Ashraf Ghani as the winner of the presidential election with 56.4 percent of the votes.

Abdullah, who won the first round, threatened to form a parallel government, alleging "industrial scale fraud" by Ghani, outgoing president Hamid Karzai and the Afghan election commission.

The mediation of US Secretary of State John Kerry, who travelled to the country on two occasions to resolve the situation, led the two candidates to agree to an audit of votes and the creation of a government of national unity headed by the winner.

The counting of the 8.1 million votes cast in the second round of presidential elections began July 17.

So far, 72 percent of the total votes have been audited in a slow process that has been stalled on several occasions due to differences between the two candidates.

The new disruption puts at risk the inauguration of the new president Sep 2.

(Posted on 27-08-2014)

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