Afghanistan resumes auditing presidential runoff ballots
                 English.news.cn | 2014-08-03 13:22:01 | Editor: Fu Peng

AFGHANISTAN-KABUL-ELECTION-BALLOTS

Afghan electoral observers sit next to ballot boxes before the counting at a warehouse of the Independent Election Commission (IEC) in Kabul, Afghanistan, Aug. 3, 2014. The IEC on Sunday resumed the auditing process of presidential runoff election votes after four suspensions since the process began on July 17. (Xinhua/Ahmad Massoud)

KABUL, Aug. 3 (Xinhua) -- The Afghan Independent Election Commission (IEC) on Sunday resumed the auditing process of presidential runoff election votes after four times suspension since the process began on July 17.

Afghanistan's third presidential election was held on April 5 wherein Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai emerged as front runners and entered the runoff.

The runoff vote was held on June 14, during which Ghani Ahmadzai secured 56.44 percent of more than 8 million votes and Abdullah, who stood first in the first round, garnered 43.56 percent of the votes.

After one week of delay, the process, which was expected to start on Saturday, was postponed again to Sunday as observers from Abdullah's camp didn't attend the recounting process.

Election officials said that Abdullah's observers were absent again when the auditing restarted early on Sunday.

"The vote auditing process starts with one hour and a half delay on Sunday. The IEC decided to restart the inspecting and auditing of ballots whether Abdullah's observers attend the process or not. Ghani observers, national and international observers are present during the process now," an IEC official told local media.

On Saturday, an online statement released by Abdullah's team pointed out that their observers won't attend the process until negotiations with the UN and concerned parties are concluded.

Before the announcement of runoff results early last month, Abdullah rejected the outcome of the polls, accusing the election commission of committing fraud and vowed not to accept the election results unless his demands for recounting and separating the genuine votes from the fake ones are met.

To end the election deadlock, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and the UN mission began mediation between the two candidates and have convinced them to accept the results after a vote auditing process.

Under the agreement brokered by Kerry, the candidate securing more votes will become the president and the other candidate would become chief executive, a post tantamount to premier in the new government.

 

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