Afghan election results disputed
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) – Afghan presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah defiantly told thousands of supporters yesterday that he will declare victory as he claimed massive fraud was responsible for preliminary results putting his rival in the lead.
The United States, meanwhile, warned both camps against trying to seize power, saying international financial and security support was at stake.
The turmoil came as violence escalated around the country. A suicide bomber struck Afghan and foreign forces near a clinic in the eastern province of Parwan, killing at least 16 people, including four Czech soldiers.
Abdullah said he received calls from President Barack Obama and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, and he was told that Kerry would be flying to the Afghan capital on Friday in a bid to help defuse the crisis. State Department officials accompanying Kerry in Beijing declined to comment on his travel plans.
Abdullah told his supporters that the results of the election were fraudulent, but asked them to give him a few more days to negotiate.
“We denounce and do not accept the results of the fraudulent vote. I assure you people of Afghanistan that I will sacrifice for you, but I will never accept a fraudulent government,” he told his supporters, many angry over the result. “We announce that only the government elected through clean votes will come to power.”
The Afghan Independent Election Commission released preliminary election results yesterday showing former finance minister Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai well in the lead for the presidency but said no winner could be declared because millions of ballots were being audited for fraud.
Preliminary results from the June 14 runoff vote showed that Ahmadzai had about 4.5 million votes, or 56 per cent, while Abdullah had 3.5 million votes, or 44 per cent, according to the commission. Turnout was more than 50 per cent.
That was a sharp turnaround from the first round of voting on April 5 when Abdullah garnered the most votes with 46 per cent to Ahmadzai’s 31.6 per cent but failed to get the majority needed to avoid a runoff vote.
Abdullah has refused to accept any results from the second round until all fraudulent ballots are invalidated.
The election commission acknowledged that vote rigging had occurred and said ballots from about 7 000 more of the nearly 23 000 polling stations would be audited.