Karzai declared elected president after runoff canceled


Hamid Karzai was handed a second term as President of Afghanistan on Monday when poll officials scrapped the second round of voting following the withdrawal of his challenger.

Abdullah Abdullah was Karzai’s sole opponent in the November 7 runoff, but the former Afghan foreign minister dropped out of the race Sunday because he said the vote would not be free or fair.

“We declare that Hamid Karzai, who won the majority of votes in the first round, and is the only candidate in the second round, is the elected president of Afghanistan,” Independent Election Commission (IEC) spokesman Azizullah Ludin said in a statement televised live from Kabul.

Two months after the August 20 Afghan election, the Electoral Complaints Commission nullified a large number of ballots because of fraud and forced a runoff.

Internationally, the runoff was seen as a way to restore legitimacy to the nation’s electoral process.