Hamid Karzai Announced Elected President of Afghanistan

Following scrapping of the planned second round of the vote, Hamid Karzai has been declared elected president of Afghanistan by poll officials.

The Independent Election Commission (IEC) announced election of Karzai a day after his only challenger Dr Abdullah Abdullah pulled out of the race.

Having unsuccessfully demanded removal of key election officials before pulling out, Dr Abdullah said that in his views, it would not be a free and fair vote.

It may be mentioned that the first round of the election that took place in August was marred by mass electoral fraud.

“We declare Hamid Karzai, which [sic] got the majority of votes in the first round and [since] he is the only candidate for the second round… be declared as elected president of Afghanistan,” said IEC spokesman Azizullah Lodin at Monday’s news conference in Kabul.

According to him, the second round scheduled for November 7 was scrapped to save money, for security reasons and to prevent further setbacks which could damage Afghanistan politically and economically.

The Taliban, which carried out attacks across the country during the first round, had vowed to disrupt the polls again next Saturday.

President Karzai had been the favourite to win the run-off after gaining more votes in the first round on 20 August.

One of the reasons for holding a deciding vote had been to try to restore some legitimacy to the process after the discredited first round.

A number of international figures, including US Senator John Kerry, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, had been involved in persuading Mr Karzai to accept a run-off.

But Dr Abdullah had demanded key officials be removed from the IEC, which is widely regarded as pro-Karzai.

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