The full audit of votes cast in Afghanistan’s presidential election was again suspended on Saturday, underscoring the fragility of the political deal between the two camps brokered by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. On Saturday, the recount was stopped for a third time since it began 10 days ago, after supporters of one of the candidates, Abdullah Abdullah, walked out, claiming one of the audit criteria wasn’t being adhered to. The sticking point concerned a technical issue related to ballots from polling stations that saw a surprising jump in votes in the June-14 runoff election compared with the first round of voting on April 5. The two camps on Saturday did reach an agreement on a separate issue that had been slowing down the audit: how to disqualify fraudulent votes.
Yusuf Nuristani, the head of the election commission, said the audit wouldn’t resume before next Thursday, after the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of Ramadan, to allow time for the two sides to resolve their differences.
The accord reached earlier this month by the two candidates—former World Bank official Ashraf Ghani and ex-foreign minister and former mujahedeen fighter Mr. Abdullah—put an end to the then-deadlock over the legitimacy of the election.
The crisis was triggered by allegations of widespread fraud in the June 14 vote and raised the specter of civil war. Mr. Abdullah has refused to accept the preliminary results, released by Afghanistan’s election authorities, that showed Mr. Ghani winning the election.
Full Article: Afghan Election Audit Stalls Again – WSJ.