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Ban urges Afghan President to respect constitutional process

19 October 2009 – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Afghan President Hamid Karzai today discussed the latest developments concerning the recent elections, as the United Nations-backed panel investigating claims of fraud submitted its findings to the country’s top electoral authority.

“The Secretary-General urged [Mr.] Karzai to respect the constitutional process, and he was pleased to hear that the President will fully respect the constitutional order,” UN spokesperson Michele Montas told reporters in New York.

Earlier today the UN-backed Election Complaints Commission (ECC) submitted its findings to the Independent Election Commission (IEC), which will now determine whether or not Mr. Karzai received more than 50 per cent of the votes, which would end the need for a run-off.

The ECC was tasked with auditing suspicious ballot boxes and other complaints related to the 20 August presidential elections. Based on its findings, the Commission ordered the IEC – which organized the polls – to invalidate 210 polling stations around the country where the panel found clear and convincing evidence of fraud.

The IEC is expected to announce the final certified results within the next few days.

“It is for the Independent Electoral Commission to take the orders of the Election Complaints Commission and apply them to the preliminary results and draw a new tally and announce final certified results; that has not happened yet,” Ms. Montas noted.

As to the possibility of a second round of voting, she said that no one underestimates the challenges faced in conducting a second round. However, she emphasized that the need for a second round cannot be dictated by the difficulties faced.

“A credible government is needed,” said Ms. Montas. “If a second round is called for, we need to scrupulously abide by the law.”

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