News / Asia

Kerry Seeks Solution to Afghan Vote Dispute

Kerry in Kabul to Broker Political Resolutioni
X
Jeff Custer
July 11, 2014 5:41 PM
Top US diplomat country's future "hangs in the balance." VOA's Jeff Custer has more.

Top US diplomat John Kerry (left) meets with Afghan officials, including outgoing President Hamid Karzai.

Ayaz Gul

Seeking a resolution to Afghanistan's bitter election dispute, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Friday held separate talks with rival Afghan presidential candidates and outgoing President Hamid Karzai in Kabul.

Discussions will continue for a second day in Kabul on Saturday, as allegations of ballot fraud rattle the country.

Abdullah Abdullah and his political rival Ashraf Ghani both claim victory in the June 14 runoff to replace the outgoing president. Preliminary results show Abdullah trailing Ghani by about one million votes, but Abdullah rejects those results and has alleged widespread fraud and ballot-box stuffing. Abdullah's supporters have been urging him to establish his own government.

The controversy has worried Afghanistan’s U.S.-led international backers as it threatens to revive deeply rooted ethnic Afghan rivalries and undermine a decade long U.S.-led international effort to politically and economically stabilize the country.

Ballot review

The U.N.'s two-week plan would review 3.5 million ballots from 8,050 polling stations, which is about 44 percent of all ballots cast.

While Ghani's camp supports the proposal, Abdullah is asking for a more far-reaching review.

U.S. officials say Kerry's mission is to convince Ghani and Abdullah to refrain from declaring victory until an audit of extensive vote fraud allegations is conducted.

Kerry told reporters after a meeting with the top U.N. representative in Kabul that “we are in a very, very critical moment for Afghanistan”, saying “the future potential of the transition hangs in the balance” a lot of work needs to be done.

In a meeting with Kerry, Ghani, a former World Bank official, said he agreed with U.S. calls for a thorough review of fraud allegations.

"Our commitment is to ensure that the election process enjoys the integrity and the legitimacy that the people of Afghanistan and the world will believe," Ghani said. "Therefore we believe in the most intensive and extensive audit possible to restore faith."

Ghani’s chief spokesman Daud Sultanzio told VOA that the presidential candidate’s meeting with Kerry was held in a "very positive and constructive environment," and that Ghani has accepted a U.N. proposal for an extensive audit of more than 8,000 polling stations, a demand Abdullah recently put forward. 

“Discussions [involved] the election issues of the second round and also [United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan] proposals, including triggers for audit," he said. "These audits will be conducting audits of 8,100 polling stations which would consist of 3.5 million votes. We have already indicated our acceptance of this proposal and I hope and we invite Dr. Abdullah and his team also to join us in accepting their own proposal so we can move the process ahead and remove these uncertainties in the country.”

Abdullah spokesman Muslim Sadaat told VOA that Kerry held “only a preliminary” meeting with the presidential candidate without going into details. 

“But we are willing to meet them again and talk about a solution for the electoral deadlock," he said. "John Kerry said that [he is] here in Afghanistan to find a solution for this process. Dr. Abdullah once again talked to the U.S. secretary of state regarding the process, problems and challenges that they face, problems and challenges that were inside the [Election and Electoral Complaints] Commissions.”

Abdullah, a former foreign minister, alleges that President Karzai, the election commission and the Ghani campaign colluded to organize ballot box stuffing, charges that have been denied.

Abdullah topped the first round of presidential elections in April but did not win more than 50 percent of the vote. Ghani is leading the runoff vote by about a million votes.

Warning given

Kerry already has warned Abdullah against using extra-legal means to grab power after his running mate talked about setting up a parallel government.

The United States says it does not take sides in the election, but does support a credible transparent process.

As Kerry arrived in Kabul, dozens of protestors blocked a road near the city's international airport, with one man calling for a "political settlement" between the candidates. Another said Afghanistan needed to resolve the election internally, without Kerry's help.

Related video report by VOA's Meredith Buel, "Kerry Holds Talks in Kabul About Afghan Political Crisis":

Kerry Holds Talks in Kabul About Afghan Political Crisisi
X
July 11, 2014 10:32 PM
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has held talks in Kabul with rival Afghan presidential candidates in an effort to solve a bitter dispute that could threaten the country’s future. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.

You May Like

Photogallery US Nurse ‘Cured of Ebola,’ NIH Says

Nina Pham, Texas nurse who treated first Ebola patient in US, received no experimental drugs; WHO expects vaccine surge in 2015 More

Video Islamic State Militants Encroach on Baghdad

Iraqi capital not under ‘imminent threat,’ US military says, amid worries about foothold More

Video Hong Kong Protesters Focus on Holding Volatile Mong Kok

Activists say holding Mong Kok is key to their movement's success, despite confrontations with angry residents and police More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: A.M.E. from: Ontario, Canada
July 11, 2014 9:00 AM
Sorry to say this but I can not help but find it amusing:
Wound up 'Uncle Sam' in his fine suit with makeup and all appears as though he was rolled out of a casket to show up at these foreign countries. When the meetings are done back in the casket he goes but not before someone rewinds him, closes the lid, and then it's off to the next stop.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid