News / Asia

UN Announces Afghan Vote Audit Delay

Afghan election workers count ballot papers for an audit of the presidential run-off, in Kabul, Afghanistan, Aug. 27, 2014.
Afghan election workers count ballot papers for an audit of the presidential run-off, in Kabul, Afghanistan, Aug. 27, 2014.

Afghanistan's U.N. representative told President Hamid Karzai on Thursday that the audit of a disputed election would not be finished by Sept. 2, when Karzai had hoped to see a new leader inaugurated.

The United Nations is supervising the audit of votes from a run-off ballot between the two candidates, Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani. Both men have claimed victory in an election meant to mark the country's first democratic transfer of power.

The U.N. envoy to Afghanistan, Jan Kubiš, told President Hamid Karzai in Kabul Thursday that the election audit - effectively, a recount of ballots cast more than two months ago - will not be completed before September 10.

Karzai is due to leave office on September 2.

In a previous statement, Karzai had said the inauguration of Afghanistan's new president must take place a month after the original inauguration date of August 2.

“President Karzai is truly in a hurry for a quick conclusion of the election process,” Karzai spokesman Aimal Faizi told Reuters. “He has already done his packing. He is exhausted, like many other Afghans.”

The audit of votes hit a snag on Wednesday when Abdullah's team pulled its observers from the process, citing dissatisfaction with the way that allegedly fraudulent votes were being handled.

Ghani's team subsequently also withdrew its observers at the U.N.'s request.

“The audit must not only have integrity, it must be seen to be even-handed by all Afghans,” U.N. deputy chief Nicholas Haysom told reporters on Wednesday.

The audit has continued under U.N. supervision, but the hiccup has sparked widespread concerns that a U.S.-brokered deal between the two candidates may be in jeopardy.

Talks on new government

Both teams said on Thursday that talks on forming a national unity government had not stopped.

“We are still discussing the unity government,” Mahmoud Saiqal, a top aide to Abdullah told Reuters, adding that the candidates were scheduled to meet again on Thursday evening.

Determining how exactly that government will look may prove tricky, however, particularly when it comes to defining the role the election runner-up will play.

A deal brokered by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry calls for the runner-up to nominate someone to a new, specially created post called “chief executive.” That position would share control with the president over some key decisions, such as nominating the heads of the Afghan security forces.

“Our understanding of a 'unity government' is a national partnership, where political figures from both sides are represented,” said Saiqal.

But Ghani's team said it was too soon to start determining what responsibilities and powers a chief executive would have.

“The role is impossible to define at the moment,” said Daoud Sultanzoy, a senior member of Ghani's team. “There's no president [in office] to define it. Once the winner is announced, then it will be up to the winner.”

You May Like

Video Obama: Action on Climate Change 'Economic, Security Imperative'

President spoke to reporters on sidelines of UN Climate Summit outside Paris, where leaders are working to agree on binding measures

IMF Bets on China’s Resolve to Reform

IMF announcement already raising questions about just how much Beijing is committed to such reforms

What Happened When I Landed in Antarctica

Refael Klein chronicles what it's like to visit one of the coldest, most desolate places on Earth

This forum has been closed.
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
With HIV, Can We Get to Zero?i
Carol Pearson
November 29, 2015 1:23 PM
The theme of this year's World AIDS Day is "Getting to Zero." The U.N. says new HIV infections have been reduced by 35 percent since 2000 and AIDS-related deaths are down by 42 percent since the peak in 2004. VOA's Carol Pearson takes a look at what it might take to actually have an AIDS-free generation.

Video With HIV, Can We Get to Zero?

The theme of this year's World AIDS Day is "Getting to Zero." The U.N. says new HIV infections have been reduced by 35 percent since 2000 and AIDS-related deaths are down by 42 percent since the peak in 2004. VOA's Carol Pearson takes a look at what it might take to actually have an AIDS-free generation.

Video Political Motives Seen Behind Cancelled Cambodian Water Festival

For the fourth time in the five years since more than 350 people were killed in a stampede at Cambodia’s annual water festival, authorities canceled the event this year. Officials blamed environmental reasons as the cause, but many see it as fallout from rising political tensions with a fresh wave of ruling party intimidation against the opposition. David Boyle and Kimlong Meng report from Phnom Penh.

Video African Circus Gives At-Risk Youth a 2nd Chance

Ethiopia hosted the first African Circus Arts Festival this past weekend with performers from seven different African countries. Most of the performers are youngsters coming form challenging backgrounds who say the circus gave them a second chance.

Video US Lawmakers Brace for End-of-Year Battles

U.S. lawmakers are returning to Washington for Congress’ final working weeks of the year. And, as VOA's Michael Bowman reports, a full slate of legislative business awaits them, from keeping the federal government open to resolving a battle with the White House over the admittance of Syrian refugees.

Video Taiwan Looks for Role in South China Sea Dispute

The Taiwanese government is one of several that claims territory in the hotly contested South China Sea, but Taipei has long been sidelined in the dispute, overshadowed by China. Now, as the Philippines challenges Beijing’s claims in an international court at The Hague, Taipei is looking to publicly assert its claims. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.

Video After Terrorist Attacks, Support for Refugees Fades

The terrorists who killed and injured almost 500 people around Paris this month are mostly French or Belgian nationals. But at least two apparently took advantage of Europe’s migrant crisis to sneak into the region. The discovery has hardened views about legitimate refugees, including those fleeing the same extremist violence that hit the French capital. Lisa Bryant has this report for VOA from the Paris suburb of Cergy-Pontoise

Video Syrian Refugees in US Express Concern for Those Left Behind

Syrian immigrants in the United States are concerned about the negative tide of public opinion and the politicians who want to block a U.S. plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees. Zlatica Hoke reports many Americans are fighting to dispel suspicions linking refugees to terrorists.

Video Thais Send Security Concerns Down the River

As Thailand takes in the annual Loy Krathong festival, many ponder the country’s future and security. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai.

Video Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syria

Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

Video Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continues

One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs