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World Briefing / Afghanistan

Time is short for runoff vote

September 25, 2009|Times Wire Reports

An election official warned that Afghanistan had a two-week window in October to hold any presidential runoff before winter snows arrived -- a somber reminder of how minor delays could leave a power vacuum well into next year.

Preliminary results from Afghanistan's Aug. 20 vote show President Hamid Karzai winning outright with 54.6%. But if enough votes are found to be fraudulent from an election mired in allegations of ballot stuffing and voter coercion, Karzai could dip below the 50% threshold needed to avoid a runoff with challenger Abdullah Abdullah.

A top official from Afghanistan's election commission said members were committed to holding a runoff vote if called for by fraud investigations and the ordered recounts and audits.

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