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Afghan candidate threatens to pull out of election process

Bishkek (AKIpress) - s1.reutersmedia.net One of two candidates competing to succeed Afghan leader Hamid Karzai threatened on Tuesday to pull out of a U.N.-backed audit of a disputed presidential election, undermining a process meant to defuse a volatile standoff between the contenders, Reuters reported.

The investigation is part of a U.S.-brokered deal between presidential candidates Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani, both of whom claim to have won the election that was hoped would usher in the country's first democratic transfer of power.

The crisis over the outcome of the vote has raised the spectre of another round of war in Afghanistan after the country was torn apart by years of fighting in the 1990s, which eventually led to the rise to power of the Taliban.

On Tuesday, Abdullah's team said the United Nations had until Wednesday to accept their demands to widen the criteria for identifying and discarding ballots deemed fraudulent from a June run-off vote.

"If our demands are not taken into account we will not recognise the legitimacy of the process," said Abdullah's spokesman, Mujib Rahman Rahimi.

Abdullah's supporters think that the more fraudulent votes are thrown out, the more likely he is to win.


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