Candidates walk out of Afghan election audit

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Afghanistan's two presidential candidates, Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah, withdrew their observers from the ongoing audit of votes yesterday, following the June presidential election.

Abdullah Abdullah
Image: US Department of State.

Abdullah's observers declined to participate, claiming fraudulent ballots were not being thrown out and questioning the legitimacy of the process. Ghani's observers were later asked to withdraw by the United Nations monitors overseeing the process. They agreed, describing the decision as prudent.

The audit was continued in the afternoon.

The process of checking each of the eight million votes is part of a deal brokered by the US. The recount started a month ago. A spokesman for President Hamid Karzai has said the delay is affecting the country's security, as the Taliban continue to launch attacks across the country. Analysts suggest it is also affecting the Afghan economy.

Both candidates have previously agreed to form a unity government involving the other. Abdullah's side, trailing before the recount, is looking for more powers and responsibilities for the losing side, while their opposition apparently don't want to weaken presidential power. Both candidates also agree US forces should stay in the country after 2014.