Auditing of Afghan presidential runoff votes begins

Kabul, July 17: Afghanistan on Thursday started auditing of the votes that were cast during the presidential election runoff held June 14.

The audit of the votes, according to Election Commission Chairman Ahmad Yusuf Nuristani, was taking place at the central office of the Election Commission and the process will be monitored by national and international observers including those from the UN.

Around 100 groups, each comprising two to three people, have been formed to audit the ballot boxes totalling over eight million votes, Xinhua reported citing Nuristani.

The result of the Afghan presidential runoff was deadlocked as Abdullah Abdullah, who secured 43.56 percent of the votes in the runoff, accused the Election Commission of committing fraud in the electoral process and siding with his rival Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai's team who bagged 56.44 percent.

Abdullah Abdullah said that no decision of the election commission was acceptable unless the genuine votes were filtered from the fake one.

To solve the election deadlock, US Secretary of State John Kerry visited Kabul and after 48 hours of intense talks with the candidates, an agreement was announced July 12 between the two candidates, which emphasised on auditing all the votes and formation of a national unity government by both the candidates.

The process of auditing the votes would take three to four weeks, according to officials with the Election Commission.

Meanwhile, Abdullah Abdullah, in talks with journalists Thursday, expressed satisfaction over auditing of the votes, saying both presidential candidates were committed to recounting of the votes and ensuring transparency in the election process.

Abdullah also stated that, in the transparent process of the election, there was no loser and both the teams would form a national unity government for the larger interest of the country.


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