Vote audit resumes amid Abdullah team's boycott

 
KABUL (Pajhwok): The Independent Election Commission (IEC) on Sunday resumed auditing votes cast in the June runoff presidential election after a delay despite the absence of presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah’s election team, an official said.
The vote audit was launched on July, 17 after US Secretary of State John Kerry brokered a deal between the two candidates, but since had faced several suspensions owing to differences between the two candidates over a UN-proposed criteria for invalidation of fraudulent votes.
The vote audit had been scheduled to restart on Saturday, but the election commission announced a day-long halt to the process at UNAMA request in order to allow for more time to Abdullah and the UN to conclude their negotiations over the criteria.
The process remained suspended until Sunday noon as members from Abdullah team did not appear at the IEC headquarters.  However,   the team of rival candidate Ashraf Ghani and national and international observers were present.
At a news conference in Kabul, IEC spokesperson Noor Mohammad Noor said they had decided to resume the vote audit after a long wait in presence of Afghan and foreign observers.
He said the process would continue in two shifts until being concluded, urging Abdullah to send his representatives to monitor the process.
John Kerry spoke separately by telephone Friday with Abdullah and Ghani to offer support for the election process.  The State Department said Kerry stressed the need for the post-election audit to be completed in a timely manner.
mm/ma

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