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Afghan election victory 'illegal'

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Dr Abdullah: The IEC did not have the 'legal authority' to declare the result

Former Afghan presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah has said Hamid Karzai's re-election is "illegal".

He was speaking publicly for the first time since Mr Karzai was declared to have won the fraud-hit election.

Dr Abdullah told reporters in Kabul that Mr Karzai's government would lack the legitimacy needed to deal with problems like corruption and terrorism.

Mr Karzai was declared winner after Dr Abdullah withdrew from a run-off saying the vote could not be free or fair.

The BBC's Andrew North in Kabul says Dr Abdullah struck a more aggressive tone than when he pulled out of the race on Sunday.

But it is not clear whether it will make any difference to relations between the two rivals, our correspondent says.

'Afghans to judge'

Dr Abdullah said the decision of the Afghan Independent Election Commission (IEC) not to have a run-off had "no legal basis".

I have no interest in the future cabinet of Karzai's government
Abdullah Abdullah

"Such a government which lacks legitimacy cannot fight corruption," he told reporters.

"A government which comes to power without the people's support cannot fight the phenomena of terrorism threats, unemployment, poverty and hundreds of other problems."

Dr Abdullah said the election commission, which critics say was biased towards Mr Karzai, had exceeded its mandate. Other critics have called Mr Karzai's victory unconstitutional because he did not secure more than half of the vote.

BBC correspondents say it is difficult to assess the motives for Dr Abdullah's remarks at this point, or whether they might be seen as a call to action by his supporters.

The former foreign minister has urged those who back him to remain peaceful. He again called on his supporters to show restraint and not do anything illegal to oppose the government.

Mr Karzai has promised his new administration will be inclusive, but Dr Abdullah ruled out playing any role - despite pressure for a unity government.

"I have no interest in the future cabinet of Karzai's government and I will pursue my agenda, which is change," he told the news conference at his Kabul home.

But he said he would not challenge Mr Karzai's re-election.

"The process has completed itself with that final, illegal decision," he said. "I leave it to the people of Afghanistan to judge."

'Puppet'

Dr Abdullah's comments came a day after Mr Karzai vowed to remove the "stigma" of corruption and held out the prospect of talks with "Taliban brothers".

Afghan President Hamid Karzai at the Presidential Palace in Kabul on 3 November 2009
Hamid Karzai's administration has been accused of corruption

The Taliban responded by saying they would continue their fight and called Mr Karzai "a puppet".

On Monday, poll officials scrapped a run-off vote that had been planned for this weekend.

Mr Karzai agreed to the run-off after hundreds of thousands of votes were discounted from the 20 August first round because of widespread fraud.

After an investigation by the UN-backed Electoral Complaints Commission (ECC), Mr Karzai's share of the vote dropped to 49.67% - below the crucial 50% plus one vote threshold needed to avoid a run-off.

The crisis has paralysed the Afghan government for months, and delayed decisions by the US and other Nato partners on sending more troops to combat the insurgency.



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