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Feuding Afghan rivals study UN vote plan as Kerry mediates

Published on Jul 12, 2014 3:17 AM

KABUL (AFP) - Afghanistan's presidential rivals were mulling a UN plan for a sweeping review of the disputed polls, as US Secretary of State John Kerry sought to broker an end to the political turmoil.

Under a proposal put forward by the United Nations, the country's elections commission would audit ballot boxes from just over 8,000 polling stations where suspicions have been raised about the vote count. The bitter standoff between Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani over the run-off vote to succeed President Hamid Karzai has plunged Afghanistan into crisis and raised fears of a return to the ethnic violence of the 1990s.

As Mr Kerry met separately with the rival candidates, he stressed that results released on Monday showing Ghani in the lead were only "preliminary".

"They are neither authoritative nor final, and no-one should be stating a victory at this point in time," Mr Kerry said. "We want a unified, stable, democratic Afghanistan. It is important that whoever is president is recognised by the people as having become president through a legitimate process."

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