Afghanistan: Audit results to be announced within days

US Secretary of State John Kerry is urging Former Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah to abide by the released audit results, which have not been made public yet. It is speculated by many that these results still show Abdullah losing by a wide margin of votes to his rival, the former Minister of Finance Ashraf Ghani. He is insisting that more ballots be invalidated to narrow Ghani’s presumed margin of victory. Both sides had pledged back in July to accept whatever results of the UN-monitored voting audit into allegations of widespread fraud in the runoff election that was held in June.

Kerry had brokered an additional deal between the two candidates to form a unity government as well, in a power sharing structure that splits responsibilities between two senior posts – the President and the newly created “Chief Executive.” Despite this compromise, it has not been established what responsibilities and powers the Chief Executive will have, if any, in comparison to the President. This has led to both candidates declaring they will set up their own separate governments if a deal is not reached. Abdullah additionally is demanding that final election results should be delayed until the powers of the chief executive position are more clearly defined within the Afghan constitution.

Spokesmen for both candidates outlined the tensions of the situation, indicating that it is less the candidates themselves at odds with one another, and more their supporters. Abdullah aides have stated repeatedly that they would not accept a result if it showed anything less than a close margin, but Ghani’s aides have said they want the true result of the election to be released to the public.

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