Karzai Allies Get Tough on Recount

Afghan president's team blasts UN-backed election body
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 19, 2009 7:56 AM CDT
French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner in Kabul yesterday. He urged Afghanistan's political rivals to accept the findings of a fraud investigation that could trigger an electoral runoff.   (AP Photo/Musadeq Sadeq)
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(Newser) – Hamid Karzai's camp is signaling he may not accept the results of a recount from Afghanistan's presidential election, sowing further doubt about the country's future. A spokesman said the recount process had been "politically manipulated," and Karzai allies spent the weekend criticizing the UN-backed electoral commission that is counting the votes. Yesterday, thousands of black-clad Karzai supporters marched near Kandahar, decrying "foreign interference" in the election.

After reports of widespread fraud favoring Karzai, new results could bring his total below 50% and set up a runoff with Abdullah Abdullah. But if Karzai refuses to accept the electoral commission's ruling, it could further undermine both the credibility of the Afghan government and NATO countries' war plans. Bernard Kouchner, the French foreign minister, was in Kabul for negotiations yesterday and said he was "concerned—not everybody is ready to accept the results."