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Afghanistan - election 2009

Karzai rejects Abdullah call for IEC chief sacking

Article published on the 2009-10-27 Latest update 2009-10-27 15:32 TU

Afghan women walk past a poster of presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah in Kabul(Photo: Reuters)

Afghan women walk past a poster of presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah in Kabul
(Photo: Reuters)

Afghan President Hamid Karzai has said that Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) chairman Azizullah Ludin should not be fired, after his main rival Abdullah Abdullah said Ludin must go ahead of a second round presidential poll on 7 November.

Presidential spokesperson Humayun Hamidzada said Abdullah's demand has no basis in law and the IEC chief had done "absolutely nothing wrong".

While admitting that there may have been "some violations" in the 20 August vote, Hamidzada insisted that they were not sufficiently widespread to affect the result.

"I think demands by the candidates - whether Mr Abdullah or anyone else - if their demands are based on the laws they can be discussed, accepted, but if their demands are outside the law, obviously the laws are rather important.

"So we'll go for the elections, run-off elections based on the law, the constitution and electoral law."

Abdullah on Monday presented "minimum conditions" for his participation in the run-off, which is taking place largely thanks to his complaints about fraud on 20 August. Among the conditions were Ludin's dismissal and the closure of "ghost" polling stations, which were too dangerous to use on polling day.

He set a deadline for a response of 31 October but refused to say if he would stand down if they are not met.

European Union foreign ministers on Tuesday vowed to send 400 police to Afghanistan, despite recruitment difficulties.

Finnish Foreign Minister Alexander Stubb earlier criticised efforts so far.

"We're up to 236 police out of a promised 400,"  he said. "To be quite honest, I think that's weak."

The ministers adopted a plan for "strengthened action in Afghanistan and Pakistan" at a meeting in Luxembourg Tuesday and promised to "ensure the swift deployment" of the promised staff.

But the concluding remarks declared that "the situation in Afghanistan is deteriorating" and called for a "new compact with the international community".

Meanwhile, five border police were killed in an attack on their post in the southern province of Zabul on Monday, officials say. Nine Taliban are repoted to have been killed in a raid by Afghan forces in Kandahar provice.

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