Karzai backs Afghan election commission | world | Hindustan Times
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Karzai backs Afghan election commission

world Updated: Sep 10, 2009 08:16 IST

President Hamid Karzai stressed his support for Afghanistan's election commission, as international trust in the group appeared to erode following allegations of widespread fraud in last month's presidential poll.

Karzai's praise on Wednesday for the Independent Election Commission came a day after it announced preliminary results giving him more than 50 percent of the vote, the threshold for avoiding a runoff against his top challenger, former Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah.

The August 20 election, the second direct presidential vote in Afghanistan's history, was marred by attacks by Taliban insurgents and has been tainted by allegations of massive fraud ranging from ballot-box stuffing to fake polling stations.

A separate UN-backed body charged with investigating the fraud ordered a partial re-count on Tuesday. Polling stations with turnouts at or above 100 percent and voting centres where one candidate won 95 percent of the vote need to be audited and re-counted under the order.

The Afghan-run commission said it has quarantined votes that appear fraudulent pending review by the UN-backed complaints body on whether they should be counted or discarded but tallies posted on its Web site show Karzai garnering 95 percent to 100 percent of votes at more than 20 voting centres.