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White House Official Expects Afghan Election Results to Stand    - 2004-10-10

President Bush's National Security Advisor, Condoleezza Rice, says she believes the Afghan election results will stand, despite some technical problems at polling places.

Condoleezza Rice says Saturday was an extraordinary day for Afghanistan, as voters cast ballots in that country's first presidential election.

"This election has been said to be, by the United Nations and the Afghan Election Commission, an election that clearly will reflect the views of the Afghan people," said Ms. Rice.

But there were charges of fraud from candidates running against the transitional president, Hamid Karzai.

Speaking on the Fox News Sunday television program, Ms. Rice acknowledged there were some technical problems that need to be addressed. She noted that one concern involving ink used to mark voters' hands so they could not cast another ballot was taken care of within hours. Opposition candidates charged the ink could be rubbed off.

"I think you will see that there will be a mechanism to resolve these concerns within the context of the Afghan election law," said Condoleezza Rice.

Ms. Rice stressed that U.N. and Afghan elections officials believe the balloting problems were not sufficient to alter the outcome of the election, and said she had no doubts the balloting would be declared legitimate.

"I think the results will stand," she said. "Obviously, there are technical difficulties sometimes in even the most mature democracies when it comes to elections. And people have the right to challenge, and they should challenge."

Before the Afghan election, Bush administration officials said they did not expect the process to be perfect, but believed it would be free and fair. They said they hold the same expectations for the balloting scheduled for early next year in Iraq.