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Sources close to Afghan presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah say he
may pull out of next week's runoff election against President Hamid
Karzai, due to concerns about the credibility of the poll.
Abdullah had given President Karzai until Saturday to remove the
country's Independent Election Commission chief, Azizullah Lodin.
was one of several conditions that Mr. Abdullah had voiced this week to
avoid a repeat of the massive fraud that marred the August 20
As of Saturday, President Karzai had not agreed to his opponent's demands.
Abdullah is expected to hold a press conference Sunday about the
November seventh vote. News reports cite sources close to the former
foreign minister as saying Mr. Abdullah may pull out of the runoff.
spokesman for the Afghan election commission, Noor Mohammad Noor, tells
VOA that legally, Mr. Abdullah cannot officially withdraw a week away
from the vote.
"Now is too late, according to IEC procedure of
the election law, the withdraw time is already done, so they must
continue," said Noor.
Speaking from Kabul, the director of
Afghanistan's Center for Research and Policy Studies, Haroun Mir, says
a boycott would have a major impact on the public's perception of the
"If Dr. Abdullah boycotts and we have a
very low voter turnout, then President Karzai will be declared winner,
but he will not be considered a legitimate president," said Mir.
says that he believes President Karzai would have a hard time asserting
his authority in Afghanistan's northern areas, which are the base for
Mr. Abdullah's support.
Afghan election officials say they plan
to increase the number of voting stations for the runoff, despite
concerns that it could lead to more fraud than in the first vote.
Taliban also has vowed to intensify its attacks leading up to the
November seventh election. Several days ago, insurgents launched an
attack on a Kabul guest house that killed five United Nations staff