BBC NEWS | South Asia | Karzai 'to answer poll criticism'

Afghan President Hamid Karzai is set to respond to claims by a UN-backed panel that he did not win recent elections, the US Secretary of State has said.

Hillary Clinton was speaking after the watchdog confirmed Mr Karzai did not gain enough valid votes for an outright win, the BBC understands.

Under the poll rules, Mr Karzai should now face his rival in a runoff.

UN officials said Mr Karzai had indicated he would respect the country's constitution.

Mrs Clinton told reporters in Washington that Mr Karzai was "going to announce his intentions" on Tuesday, in response to the investigation by the UN-backed Electoral Complaints Commission (ECC).

Mrs Clinton did not indicate what Mr Karzai's response might be, but said she was "encouraged at the direction that the situation is moving".

She said she was hopeful the political crisis in Afghanistan could begin to be resolved over the next few days, "in line with the constitutional order".

Sorry if this is a double post; I didn't see anything else on the topic. At any rate, we should be glad to see some degree of transparency here. There shouldn't be protection of an illegitimately "elected" regime.