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

800-Pound Man Determined to Slim Down

Man says he was kicked out of hospital for ordering pizza; wants to be an actor More

Australia Prepares to Resettle 12,000 Syrian Refugees

Preference will be given to refugees from persecuted minorities, and the first group is expected to arrive before late December More

S. African Miners Seek Class Action Suit Against Gold Mines

The estimated 100,000 say say they contracted the lung diseases silicosis and tuberculosis in the mines More

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.
Amnesty Accuses Saudi Coalition of ‘War Crimes’ in Yemeni
Henry Ridgwell
October 12, 2015 4:03 PM
The human rights group Amnesty International has accused the Saudi-led coalition of war crimes in airstrikes against Houthi rebels in Yemen. Henry Ridgwell reports the group says hundreds of civilians have been killed in strikes on residential areas.

Video Amnesty Accuses Saudi Coalition of ‘War Crimes’ in Yemen

The human rights group Amnesty International has accused the Saudi-led coalition of war crimes in airstrikes against Houthi rebels in Yemen. Henry Ridgwell reports the group says hundreds of civilians have been killed in strikes on residential areas.

Video No Resolution in Sight to US House Speaker Drama

Uncertainty grips the U.S. Congress, where no consensus replacement has emerged to succeed Republican House Speaker John Boehner after his surprise resignation announcement. Half of Congress is effectively leaderless weeks before America risks defaulting on its national debt and enduring another partial government shutdown.

Video New Art Exhibit Focuses on Hope

Out of struggle and despair often comes hope. That idea is behind a new art exhibit at the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore, Maryland. "The Big Hope Show" features 25 artists, some of whom overcame trauma and loss. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.

Video Columbus Day Still Generates Controversy as US Holiday

The second Monday of October is Columbus Day in the United States, honoring explorer Christopher Columbus and his discovery of the Americas. The achievement is a source of pride for many, but for some the holiday is marked by controversy. Adrianna Zhang has more.

Video Anger Simmers as Turks Begin to Bury Blast Victims

The Turkish army carried out new air strikes on Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) targets on Sunday, a day after the banned group announced a unilateral cease fire. The air raids apparently are in retaliation for the Saturday bombing in Turkey's capital Ankara that killed at least 95 people and wounded more than 200 others. But as Zlatica Hoke reports, there are suspicions that Islamic State is involved.

Video Bombings a Sign of Turkey’s Deep Troubles

Turkey has begun a three-day period of mourning following Saturday’s bomb attacks in the capital, Ankara, that killed nearly 100 people. With contentious parliamentary elections three weeks away, the attacks highlight the challenges Turkey is facing as it struggles with ethnic friction, an ongoing migrant crisis, and growing tensions with Russia. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video Afghanistan’s Progress Aided by US Academic Center

Recent combat in Afghanistan has shifted world attention back to the central Asian nation’s continuing civil war and economic challenges. But, while there are many vexing problems facing Afghanistan’s government and people, a group of academics in Omaha, Nebraska has kept a strong faith in the nation’s future through programs to improve education. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Omaha, Nebraska.

Video House Republicans in Chaos as Speaker Favorite Withdraws

The Republican widely expected to become the next speaker of the House of Representatives shocked his colleagues Thursday by announcing he was withdrawing his candidacy. The decision by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy means the race to succeed retiring Speaker John Boehner is now wide open. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Video German, US Officials Investigate Volkswagen

German officials have taken steps to restore some of the reputation their car industry has lost after a recent Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal. Authorities have searched Volkswagen headquarters and other locations in an effort to identify the culprits in the creation of software that helps cheat on emission tests. Meanwhile, a group of lawmakers in Washington held a hearing to get to the bottom of the cheating strategy that was first discovered in the United States. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Why Are Gun Laws So Hard for Congress to Tackle?

Since taking office, President Barack Obama has spoken out or issued statements about 15 mass shootings. The most recent shooting, in which 10 people were killed at a community college, sparked outrage over the nation's gun laws. But changing those laws isn't as easy as many think. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.

Video In 'He Named Me Malala,' Guggenheim Finds Normal in Extraordinary

Davis Guggenheim’s documentary "He Named Me Malala" offers a probing look into the life of 18-year-old Malala Yousafsai, the Pakistani teenager who, in 2012, was shot in the head by the Taliban for standing up for her right to education in her hometown in Pakistan's Swat Valley. Guggenheim shows how, since then, Malala has become a symbol not as a victim of brutal violence, but as an advocate for girls’ education throughout the world. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.

Video Paintable Solar Cells May Someday Replace Silicon-Based Panels

Solar panels today are still factory-manufactured, with the use of some highly toxic substances such as cadmium chloride. But a researcher at St. Mary’s College, Maryland, says we are close to being able to create solar panels by painting them on a suitable surface, using nontoxic solutions. VOA’s George Putic reports.

VOA Blogs