Britain Deeply Concerned About Afghan Election Fraud Allegations
By Tom Rivers
11 September 2009
Britain's foreign secretary say he has serious concerns about election fraud allegations swirling after last month's Afghan presidential vote and David Miliband says a thorough investigation is required.
Even before the Afghan election, the war there was unpopular back in Britain. Now with widespread allegations of vote-rigging, the British government is having to justify why British service personnel are dying for what appears to be a far from democratic election.
Interviewed on the BBC, British Foreign Secretary David Miliband said he could not describe the vote as "free and fair."
"We will not be party to any whitewash when it comes to the elections," he said. "That is why the United Nations established the Electoral Complaints Commission. It is why they dismissed the results from 83 polling stations so of course we have concerns about very serious allegations of fraud."
Despite the nature of the election, staged under a violent backdrop, Miliband said he felt it was still possible to have a final result that the people of Afghanistan can have confidence in.
"For me to pretend the people were not frightened, significant numbers of people did not come out to vote because they were frightened but equally, millions did vote. And we need to make sure that they courage they showed, the courage that our forces have shown is actually matched by determination to get the real result," he said.
Incumbent leader Hamid Karzai currently holds some 54 percent of the vote count. But if turns out that vote fraud was a significant factor in the election, then the percentages become meaningless.
David Miliband sees two possible scenarios when the last votes are tabulated.
"If President Karzai won, then he should be the president," he said. "There is then big responsibilities on him to reach out right across the Afghan political spectrum. But obviously if he did not get the 50 percent in the first round then there has to be a second round."
Foreign Secretary Miliband says for Britain, the new government in Kabul must be credible and it must have a clear view of Afghanistan's future regarding its security, its ability to achieve political reconciliation and its ability to build its economy.
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