Norway welcomes agreement on audit of Afghan election result 

Borge Brende

I welcome the agreement reached yesterday evening by the two presidential candidates in Afghanistan on an extensive audit of the election result. In agreeing to this step, Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah are showing that they both take responsibility for promoting stability and unity in the country,’ said Foreign Minister Børge Brende.

Following the announcement of the preliminary result of the second round of the presidential election, there have been many allegations of extensive election fraud. After consultation with the candidates, President Karzai and the country’s electoral commission, UN Special Representative Jan Kubis drew up a proposal for an audit of the election result. Agreement was reached after talks on Friday and Saturday, in which US Secretary of State John Kerry also participated. All the votes from the second round of the presidential election are to be recounted. Both candidates have said that they will accept the final result, and that they will then form a broad coalition government under the leadership of the winning candidate. President Karzai has also accepted the audit even though it will now take longer before the new president and government are in place.

‘I am grateful to UN Special Representative Jan Kubis and State Secretary John Kerry for the work they have put into finding a solution. It is crucial that the first democratic change of government in Afghanistan’s history takes place in a way that wins the confidence of both the Afghan people and the international community. This audit will ensure that the votes of the millions of Afghans who took part in the election, despite threats of reprisals from the Taliban, will be processed properly, and that false votes will be weeded out.

‘This will be an extensive and demanding task. I hope that Afghanistan’s independent electoral commission, with the support of the international community, will be able to carry it out in line with international standards. Norway has supported Afghanistan’s electoral institutions for several years, and we look forward to the final result and a successful change of government that leads to greater security, stability and development in the country,’ said Mr Brende.

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