UN will do utmost to ensure credible Afghan presidential run-off – Ban
NEW YORK - Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today pledged the full support of the United Nations to ensure that Afghanistan’s presidential election run-off is as credible as possible and welcomed President Hamid Karzai’s acceptance of a second round of voting.
“The United Nations will do its utmost for the conduct of the second round of elections scheduled for 7 November 2009 in a free, fair, transparent and secure environment,” Mr. Ban told reporters in New York.
The run-off, between Mr. Karzai and Abdullah Abdullah, was announced today, after the UN-backed panel investigating claims of fraud submitted its findings to the country’s top electoral authority.
Yesterday the Electoral Complaints Commission, which was tasked with auditing suspicious ballot boxes and other complaints related to the 20 August elections, submitted its findings to the Independent Election Commission (IEC), which organized the polls.
Based on its findings, the ECC ordered the IEC to invalidate 210 polling stations around the country where the panel found clear and convincing evidence of fraud.
Mr. Ban welcomed the statement made today by Mr. Karzai, who “has made it clear that the constitutional process must be fully respected…
“I commend President Karzai for the leadership he has displayed and for his commitment to ensuring full respect for Afghanistan’s Constitution and its democratic processes,” he stated.
The Secretary-General also commended Mr. Abdullah for his “dignified approach to the campaign as well as to the difficult post-election period.”
Speaking in Kabul today, Mr. Ban’s Special Representative for Afghanistan Kai Eide paid tribute to the Afghan institutions involved in the electoral process, noting that they have played a key role during the past couple of months.
“In a country in conflict and a country which is a young democracy it is of particular importance that institutions that underpin that democracy work and work solidly,” he said.
“I look forward to a dignified campaign over the next two weeks between the two candidates and a fair end result to this long election process,” added Mr. Eide.