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Karzai expected to agree to run off: report

world Updated: Oct 20, 2009 13:25 IST
Afghan President Hamid Karzai

Afghan President Hamid Karzai is expected to agree to a run-off to the presidential elections after a UN-backed panel threw out nearly a third of his votes, a media report said here today.

The Washington Post quoted unnamed Obama Administration officials to say that Karzai is expected to agree to the idea of a run-off to the August 20 presidential elections.

"Senior administration officials, while palpably relieved at what they said had been an apparent breakthrough in tense negotiations with Karzai, remained reluctant to state unequivocally that he had agreed to a runoff," the daily said.

"There are any number of cliches you could choose from," one official who spoke on the condition of anonymity was quoted as saying. "But we'll wait until the chickens are hatched," he said.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told reporters that she is looking forward to Karzai's statement today hoped that the candidates would abide by the constitution.

The Washington Post said Afghan Parliament member Mohammad Moin Marastyal said a second round would deepen ethnic rifts in the country, with Pashtuns lining up behind Karzai and Tajiks behind Abdullah, potentially bringing more instability and violence.

"The same problems we have now will be far worse than they are today," he was quoted as saying.

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