Preparations for Afghan presidential run-off in full swing, UN mission reports

22 Oct 2009

Preparations for Afghan presidential run-off in full swing, UN mission reports

KABUL - Ballot papers have been printed and delivered, polling stations kits have been packed and distribution began today as preparations got under way for the second round of voting in Afghanistan’s presidential election, the United Nations mission there reported.

President Hamid Karzai will face former foreign minister Abdullah Abdullah in the 7 November run-off, which was announced earlier this week after the UN-backed Electoral Complaints Commission (ECC) found evidence of fraud in the first round of voting.

The preparations are being carried out by Afghanistan’s Independent Election Commission (IEC), which organized the presidential and provincial council elections of 20 August.

The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) said the world body will offer every support to Afghanistan’s electoral institutions to ensure a credible final result that is accepted and faithfully reflects the will of the people, adding that the country’s voters deserve nothing less.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told reporters on Tuesday that the UN will advise the IEC not to re-recruit those officials who might have been involved in fraudulent electoral processes, as one way to ensure that the run-off takes place in a free, fair, transparent and secure environment.

“Having learned lessons from the first elections [round], that there was widespread fraud and irregularities, we will try our best, in close coordination with the Afghan leadership and Afghan institutions, and other major international partners, to make this election as fair and free of fraud [as possible],” he stated.

In a related development, Mr. Ban has decided to temporarily dispatch Wolfgang Weisbrod-Weber, Director of the Asia and Middle East Division in the Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO), to Afghanistan to work with the UN’s top envoy, Kai Eide.

Mr. Weisbrod-Weber will serve as the acting Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General, with responsibility for political affairs.