Poll audit to last beyond Sept 2

August 29, 2014 - 12:00:00 am


KABUL: Afghanistan’s UN representative told President Hamid Karzai yesterday that the audit of a disputed election would not be finished by September 2, when Karzai had hoped to see a new leader inaugurated.

The United Nations is supervising the audit of votes from a run-off ballot between the two candidates, Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani. Both men have claimed victory in an election meant to mark the country’s first democratic transfer of power.

In a meeting with Karzai, UN envoy Ján Kubis told the outgoing president a “rigorous and credible audit required time, but could be completed around 10 September,” said a UN statement.

In a previous statement, Karzai had said the inauguration of Afghanistan’s new president must take place a month after the original inauguration date of August 2.

“President Karzai is truly in a hurry for a quick conclusion of the election process,” Karzai spokesman Aimal Faizi said.

“He has already done his packing. He is exhausted, like many other Afghans.”

The audit of votes hit a snag on Wednesday when Abdullah’s team pulled its observers from the process, citing dissatisfaction with the way that allegedly fraudulent votes were being handled.