Afghanistan's Independent Election Commission has cancelled the presidential run-off, scheduled for Saturday, after challenger Abdullah Abdullah withdrew from the race. Azizullah Lodin, commission president called the election, saying, “We declare that Hamid Karzai got the majority of votes in the first round and is the only candidate for the second round of elections of Afghanistan in 2009”. Lodin said doing away with a run-off would save Afghans the expense and security risk of another election. Also, they’d run out of spare candidates. The challenger, former foreign minister Abdullah Abdullah said he couldn’t go along with a run-off run by the same people who ran Afghanistan’s first round of voting, especially since international officials had uncovered massive fraud, mainly in President Karzai's favour, putting his total past the halfway point. Both the US and the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon issued statements congratulating President Karzai on his victory. Despite everything, including an attack on UN staff in Kabul, Ban Ki-Moon said in the capital, “We will not be deterred, we cannot be deterred, and we must not be deterred, and the work of the United Nations will continue.” Read more: VOA, BBC
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