UN intervenes in Afghan election controversy

June 25, 2014 - 2:11:09 pm
A rally in support of presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah in Herat yesterday.

KABUL: The United Nations said yesterday it had stepped in to help broker a solution to Afghanistan’s election crisis, hosting talks between presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah and the election authority that he has boycotted.

Afghanistan’s first democratic transfer of power was thrown into turmoil when Abdullah said the Independent Election Commission (IEC) was guilty of fraud and he considered it illegitimate.

The dispute threatened to tip the country into political instability at a sensitive time, with the withdrawal of US-led combat forces after 13 years of fighting Taliban insurgents.

The UN had been reluctant to interfere in the election, but outgoing President Hamid Karzai said he would welcome its help as the deadlock deepened. “The IEC and Presidential Candidate Dr Abdullah Abdullah met last night in an encounter facilitated by the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA),” the UN said in a statement.

“UNAMA will continue to support the electoral process that remains fully in the hands of Afghan electoral institutions and stakeholders.”

A potential breakthrough emerged on Monday when senior IEC official Zia-ul-Haq Amarkhail, whom Abdullah had accused of fraud, resigned. But a smooth election process still appears in doubt, with Abdullah and his poll rival Ashraf Ghani both confident of victory as vote counting continues after the run-off election 10 days ago. AFP