Karzai Challenger Plans to Call for Boycott

But spokesman leaves room for late maneuvering
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Oct 31, 2009 1:51 PM CDT
Afghan President Hamid Karzai.   (AP Photo/Musadeq Sadeq)
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(Newser) – Afghan presidential challenger Abdullah Abdullah plans to boycott next week's runoff against Hamid Karzai and instead call for postponement of the vote until the spring, his campaign manager said today. "As of now," Abdullah plans to call for a boycott during a press conference tomorrow, he said. Abdullah also plans to call for an interim government to run the country until a new, fair vote can be held.

Abdullah, who was once Karzai's foreign minister, put forward several conditions this week to avoid a repeat of the massive fraud of the August election, including the replacement of the top election official and the suspension of several ministers. He gave today as his deadline. Analysts tell the Washington Post this could be a ploy to pressure Karzai into a power-sharing agreement. (Read more Afghanistan stories.)