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Abdullah Threatens to Pull Out of Afghan Presidential Vote Audit

  • VOA News

FILE - Afghan presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah meets with supporters in Kabul, July 8, 2014.

FILE - Afghan presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah meets with supporters in Kabul, July 8, 2014.

Afghan presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah has threatened to pull out of the auditing process of June's disputed runoff election, further complicating efforts to resolve the standoff.

A senior member of Abdullah's campaign team, Fazel Ahmad Manawi, told reporters that auditors have not shown a willingness to throw out votes the candidate's team views as fraudulent.

Manawi called the process a "joke," saying Abdullah would withdraw Wednesday if the concerns are not addressed. "Unfortunately, the invalidation process is just a joke and there is no intention of throwing out fraudulent votes."

"If our demands are not accepted by tomorrow morning," Manawi said, "we will not continue with this process and any outcome will have no value to us."

Auditors are in their final stages of examining the 8 million votes cast during the June 14 runoff between Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani. Though preliminary votes suggested Ghani finished well ahead of Abdullah, both claimed to have won.

On Monday, the Afghan Election Commission announced that results from at least 72 of the country's nearly 4,000 ballot boxes have been invalidated.

The audit is part of a deal mediated by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and supervised by the United Nations. Washington had hoped the process would be complete, and a new president inaugurated, by the end of this month.

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