World

Karzai, Abdullah reject power-sharing

Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai and his challenger, former foreign minister Abdullah Abdullah, both said on Sunday that there would be no power-sharing deal before a run-off vote on Nov. 7.

Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai and his challenger, former foreign minister Abdullah Abdullah, both said on Sunday that there would be no power-sharing deal before a run-off vote on Nov. 7.

Abdullah and Karzai said in separate interviews on U.S. television that their focus would not be on sharing power but rather securing it.

"I decided for peace, for stability, and for the future of democracy in Afghanistan and for the future of institutional order in Afghanistan, to call for a run-off," Karzai told CNN.

"I find that in the interest of the Afghan people," he said.

Meanwhile, Abdullah told Fox News: "I think I should rule it out because I'm ready to go for a run-off."

Last week, Karzai acknowledged that he fell short of the 50 per cent threshold needed for victory in the Aug. 20 ballot after UN-backed auditors threw out nearly a third of his votes because of massive fraud.

The Afghan Independent Election Commission, dominated by Karzai supporters, is under huge pressure to avoid a repeat of the cheating, which discredited the government and threatened to undermine public support abroad for the war.

As campaigning began Saturday, several senior Abdullah campaign officials accused the top three members of Afghanistan's Independent Election Commission of bias, saying they should be replaced to ensure the next vote is fair. A spokesman for the commission rejected the call.

Also Saturday, Taliban fighters warned Afghans not to take part in the war-racked country's presidential run-off, threatening to launch a fresh wave of violence on polling day to stop them.

With files from The Associated Press

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