U.N. Report Discounts One-third of Karzai's Ballots

Afghan President Hamid Karzai is supposed to admit Tuesday that he did not win an outright majority of votes in August's presidential election.

After accounting for the fraudulent votes, Afghanistan's election commission is expected to announce Tuesday that the final vote tally shows no outright winner, triggering a runoff.

International pressure has been building on Mr. Karzai to accept either a power-sharing coalition with his top challenger, Abdullah Abdullah, or to prepare for a runoff election , Voice of America reports.

It was also reported, Afghanistan's security chiefs have been ordered to make emergency preparations for a second round of voting, in the clearest sign yet that Hamid Karzai will admit he didn’t win August’s fraud-ridden presidential poll.

Senior Afghan officials at the Ministry of Interior in Kabul said the president had authorised preparations for a second round.

Karzai had threatened to ignore the findings of a UN-backed watchdog which ruled that almost a third of his three million votes were fraudulent, and he banned the Ministry of Interior from liaising with defence chiefs to plan security for a run-off.

But a police general at the ministry told The Times that they received permission from the palace earlier today, Times Online reports.

I the meantime, defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said Tuesday that prolonged challenges to the political legitimacy of the government in Afghanistan should not halt the administration’s efforts to decide on a new strategy nor would it slow allied military operations there.

Mr. Gates, in assessing the impact on administration policy of strong charges of election fraud by supporters of President Hamid Karzai, noted that “whatever emerges in Kabul is going to be an evolutionary process.”

"It is not going to be complicated one day and simple the next," he said. "I believe the president will have to make his decisions in the context of that evolutionary process," The New York Times reports.

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