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30 March 2017 00:43 (South Africa)

Karzai’s opponent gears up for November run-off election

Abdullah Abdullah, Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s opponent, said he was getting ready for a run-off to decide the country’s disputed election. But he left the door slightly ajar to the chance he could join a coalition that would make a new poll unnecessary. However, after some initial interest, Karzai and Abdullah had not, yet, reached any agreement, Afghan and Western officials said. Therefore, it is increasingly likely that a run-off election will take place on 7 November. “We have started preparing for a second round,” Abdullah said. “We will let the Afghan people decide. I am committed to that.” This has come after a UN-supported election panel declared major fraud and threw out a similarly major share of the votes, changing the vote percentages of the candidates and forcing the run-off. The disputed election has complicated the Obama administration’s plans on a request from the military to boost the number of American soldiers in Afghanistan above the 68,000 already here.

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