UN ready to help break electoral impasse

 
KABUL (Pajhwok): The UN secretary-general’s deputy special representative for Afghanistan, Nicholas Haysom, on Saturday announced a delay in the release of partial results from the runoff presidential election.
At a media briefing in Kabul, Haysom said the move was aimed to build confidence between the two presidential candidates. One of the runners, Dr. Abdullah, crying foul, earlier said he would not accept the results. 
But Haysom said election commission should push ahead with its work transparently and in line with the schedule already announced. He said the UN stood ready to assist in resolving the current political impasse.
 “We have very firmly stated that we will walk with Afghans down this difficult road in this political transition. If it’s their decision, and they tell us what we can do, and provided it has broad agreement, then we would do what we could do to assist.”
On Wednesday, Dr. Abdullah accused President Hamid Karzai of supporting his rival in the June 14 election, saying that he no longer trusted the electoral bodies. The former foreign minister demanded an immediate stop to the vote-tallying process.
He said the UN was ready for cooperation in breaking the current political deadlock and would avoid taking steps that could be viewed as meddling in the election process.
They would remain in contact with the election bodies, serving as a bridge between them and the candidates, the envoy continued. 
“So to clarify the UN’s position, and I think the position of the international community, is that we want to reassure the Afghan people that we stand ready to assist them in resolving this political impasse,” he added.
 “Just to emphasize once again: going forward, we are going to be encouraging the candidates and their teams to engage with each other, and with the election bodies, hopefully, in the task of building trust and confidence in the process,” the UN official said.
About protests against alleged electoral fraud in Kabul, he said people reserved the right in line with the relevant laws but possible violence could disrupt confidence-building measures.
While peaceful demonstrations “a perfectly democratic right”, he warned violence could set back the process, make the task of trust-building more difficult and could lead to instability.
Haysom urged supporters of both candidates to eschew posting provocative comments on social media that could fuel differences among the people.
Abdullah’s spokesperson Syed Fazel Sancharaki told Pajhwok Afghan News they had urged the Independent Election Commission (IEC) not to unveil partial results.
mm/mud

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