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Karzai Hopes for Decisive First Round Presidential Election - 2004-10-03

Afghanistan's interim President Hamid Karzai says he hopes the country's first direct presidential election on October 9 will be decided in the first round.

Mr. Karzai told a Berlin news conference, after talks with German Foreign Minister Joshka Fischer Sunday, it would be very costly to hold a runoff.

The Afghan leader added that legitimacy of the government will increase tremendously after the elections.

Mr. Karzai is one of 18 candidates for Afghanistan's presidency.

He went to Berlin to help celebrate German Unification Day. He also received a German award presented to individuals who have displayed vision, courage and responsibility in their work.

German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, who is due to visit Afghanistan on October 11, was expected to meet the Afghan president at the ceremony.