'Afghan run-off poll huge challenge' | world | Hindustan Times
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'Afghan run-off poll huge challenge'

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon welcomed Afghan President Hamid Karzai's acceptance of a run-off presidential election but said organizing a second poll would be a 'huge challenge.'

world Updated: Oct 21, 2009 01:29 IST

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Tuesday welcomed Afghan President Hamid Karzai's acceptance of a run-off presidential election but said organizing a second poll would be a "huge challenge."

"I commend President Karzai for the leadership he has displayed and for his commitment to ensuring full respect for Afghanistan's constitution and its democratic processes," Ban told reporters at UN headquarters.

Ban said that the world body would do everything possible to make the November 7 run-off election in Afghanistan between Karzai and his former foreign minister transparent and credible.

"You can understand there's a huge challenge in conducting a second election," Ban said. "We will try to ensure that all Afghan people should be able to express their own will freely without intimidation or threat."

"We'll do our best ... to make these elections fair and free of fraudulence," he said.

Ban acknowledged that there had been widespread fraud in the Aug. 20 election. He also dismissed criticism that the United Nations had tried to play down the extent of the fraud in the disputed vote.

"We must not repeat what they have done last time," he said. "We knew that there was fraud. We reported that there was fraud."