|White House / Lawrene Jackson|
Afghanistan will hold a runoff election on Nov. 7 after a U.N. commission stripped President Hamid Karzai of his victory, citing rampant fraud. Karzai, under heavy foreign pressure, accepted the commission’s findings Tuesday and agreed to the runoff.
The New York Times is reporting that Afghan President Hamid Karzai will accept a runoff election with rival Abdullah Abdullah after a quarter of his votes were declared fraudulent. Alternatively, Karzai could find himself in a power-sharing deal or he could reject international pressure altogether and dig in his heels.
Earlier, the U.N. Electoral Complaints Commission found “clear and convincing evidence of fraud” and dropped Karzai’s total haul to below the 50 percent needed to avoid a runoff.
Team Obama then launched a full-court press to get Karzai to accept the commission’s findings. The Times cautiously reported Monday that Karzai had agreed, although it’s possible he was just trying to get John Kerry off his back.
We will know more after the Afghan president makes his intentions clear, which could happen Tuesday. —PZS
New York Times:
During a hastily arranged two-hour meeting with Senator John Kerry, Democrat of Massachusetts, a key foreign policy ally of President Obama, and the United States ambassador, Lt. Gen. Karl W. Eikenberry, at the presidential palace in Kabul on Monday, Mr. Karzai, after initially hesitating, agreed to accept the findings, the officials said.
“He is going to announce his intentions,” Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton told reporters at the State Department. “I am going to let him do that, but I am encouraged at the direction the situation is moving.”