Karzai's challenger calls for replacement of election body's chief

20:48, October 26, 2009      

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Afghan sitting President Hamid Karzai's top challenger Abdullah Abdullah on Monday demanded the removal of commissioner of election body before going to runoff vote set for Nov. 7.

"One of the conditions for having fair voting in the second round is sacking Mr. Azizullah Ludin the chief of the so-called Independent Election Commission (IEC)," Abdullah told newsmen at a press conference.

Karzai's former Foreign Minister made these remarks a day after Ludin in talks with The New York Times predicted the chance of victory for the sitting president Karzai in the second round.

Ludin, as Abdullah claimed in the conference, told New York Times that Karzai would sweep the runoff as he won the first round.

In the preliminary result of the fraud-tainted Afghan presidential election held on Aug. 20, Karzai won over 54 percent of nearly six million votes while Abdullah bagged 28 percent.

As a pre-condition, Abdullah also demanded the suspension of ministers for Interiors, Education and Frontier and Tribal affairs, saying these ministers can affect the fairness of the second round.

Abdullah said that his representative should have round the clock presence in the Secretariat of IEC and the body should issue20,000 identity cards for his own observers to monitor the second round voting.

However, Abdullah did not clearly say to boycott the runoff if his condition for the replacement of election commissioner is not met.

Setting Oct. 31 as deadline for meeting his conditions, Abdullah further noted that he would suspend his relations with the IEC and would put forward his conditions to government and IEC through United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA).

Source: Xinhua
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