Kabul, November 01, 2009
First Published: 23:54 IST(1/11/2009)
Last Updated: 01:23 IST(2/11/2009)
Abdullah Abdullah announced on Sunday that he would not participate in Afghanistan’s runoff election next week, claiming it would result in widespread fraud.
To cheers from thousands of supporters in Kabul, Abdullah said he had not taken lightly his decision, which is likely to prolong the political crisis in the country.
“We will not take part, because of the wrongdoing of the Independent Election Commission and the abuse of power by the government,” Abdullah told his supporters.
His running mate, Homayoun Shah Assefy, said: “We are no longer a candidate and we wish Karzai luck.”
Abdullah stopped short of calling for a boycott — a decision that will please western diplomats keen to avoid civil unrest. But the prolonged political uncertainty will further complicate Barack Obama’s deliberations over whether to send up to 40,000 more troops into Afghanistan.
The White House has been waiting for a new government in Kabul before announcing its decision. On Saturday, Hillary Clinton, the US secretary of state, said the legitimacy of the election would not be affected if Abdullah withdrew.
“I don’t think it has anything to do with the legitimacy of the election,” she said. “It’s a personal choice which may or may not be made.”