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Karzai victory unlikely to put questions about his administration's credibility

Afghanistan's Independent Election Commission (IEC) on Monday announced cancellation of the November 7 runoff presidential election, declaring the incumbent Hamid Karzai the winner.

The decision was announced by the chairman of the Election Commission, Azizullah Ludin while addressing a news conference in Kabul.

The development came in the wake of Sunday's announcement by Karzai's sole rival in the second round election, former Foreign Minister Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, to withdraw from the race.

Abdullah, who had, ever since the August 20 election, been demanding runoff polls, agreed to contest when the Election Commission announced last week to hold the second round voting on November 7, following the Election Complaint Commission [ECC] discarded over a third of Karzai's votes, bringing down his victory proportion to less than the required above 50 percent.

According to the preliminary election results, Karzai had won more than 54 percent of votes while Abdullah and other candidates alleged rigging in the election, prompting the ECC to withhold result of more than 300 ballot boxes for scrutiny.

Last week, Abdullah put a number of conditions for Karzai government, including sacking of election commissioner Ludin, saying he would not take part in the runoff if his demands were not met.

The UN-backed Election Commission had already sacked over 200 of its employees, including its some provincial chiefs; in those areas election fraud had been alleged.

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 Source : Xinhua  Editor: Ivy
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