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Page last updated at 03:46 GMT, Thursday, 10 September 2009 04:46 UK

Afghan election process 'biased'

By David Loyn
BBC News, Kabul

'The real outcome should come out'

The main challenger in the Afghan election has claimed the body carrying out the count is being manipulated by the incumbent President Hamid Karzai.

Speaking exclusively to the BBC, Abdullah Abdullah said the election commission was on the president's side.

Since the Afghan election three weeks ago, the number of claims of fraud in the voting have been rising.

As the counting goes on Mr Karzai has just passed the 50% mark that means he does not have to face a second round.

In a strongly-worded interview for the BBC, he said the election was being stolen from the Afghan people, and the Independent Election Commission was anything but independent.

"It's not independent at all; it's on President Karzai's side," said Mr Abdullah.

"It has been corrupt, and their malpractice is now widespread. I think it's not for the good of the country that somebody who commits massive fraud rules the country for (almost) five years."

Mr Abdullah said the way the election had been conducted was a recipe for instability.

"I'm not talking about just my own supporters, but those who cast their vote for Mr Karzai," he said.

"Their vote is now part of the fraud. And on top of that, a fraudulent outcome: illegitimate rule for another five years. I think this in itself is a recipe for instability in this country."

But Mr Abdullah said he still wanted a fair result to be found through peaceful channels.

Earlier this week the international body overseeing the process took their first decisive step - ordering the election commission to hold a recount wherever there were suspicious ballots - potentially opening months of arguments.



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