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Afghan election goes to run-off

Afghanistan will hold a second round of its presidential poll on 7 November, with Hamid Karzai facing Abdullah Abdullah. News of the run-off vote came after weeks of mounting international pressure and came a day after a UN-supported panel said there was real evidence of fraud in the previous poll. The net effect was to lower Karzai’s share to less than 50%, leading to the second vote. Karzai accepted the findings at a news conference, adding they were a “step forward” for democracy. US Senator John Kerry played a key role in persuading Karzai to accept the need for a second round. However, correspondents say Karzai and his challenger may reach an agreement to form a national unity government, obviating the need for the run-off.

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