Afghanistan may be nearing yet another political crisis as officials fear that President Hamid Karzai will not accept results of an investigation outlining massive fraud in the country’s presidential elections two months ago. The inquiry is expected to drop Karzai’s vote total to under 50 percent, requiring a runoff election.

The Guardian:

Britain and the United States are attempting to avert a political crisis in Afghanistan as fears mounted in Kabul that Hamid Karzai will refuse to accept the results of an official inquiry into massive electoral fraud that is expected to trigger a fresh round of voting.

Diplomatic sources in the Afghan capital said the US secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, was due to call the Afghan president amid concerns that he will reject the findings of the Election Complaints Commission (ECC), due to be published on Saturday. Downing Street confirmed that Gordon Brown has telephoned the Afghan president twice this week. The US ambassador to Kabul is expected to visit the presidential palace.

Clinton indicated that a second round of voting would follow the expected report. “Whatever the ECC’s recommendation is, I believe it should be followed. And if that requires a second round that is what should happen,” she said in an interview with CNN. She added she expected Karzai to win: “I think one can conclude that the likelihood of him winning a second round is probably pretty high.”

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