October 25th, 2009
09:00 AM ET
5 years ago

Karzai challenger prefers opposition to coalition


(CNN) - The candidate who will face Afghan President Hamid Karzai in a runoff election next month said Friday that he won't join Karzai's government if the incumbent wins another term, but instead will remain in opposition.

Abdullah Abdullah, who served as foreign minister in Karzai's government until quitting nearly four years ago, said he would congratulate Karzai if he "is elected through a transparent and credible process."

"My trust in becoming a candidate was not to be part of the same government, part of the same deteriorating situation," told CNN's John King in an interview taped for broadcast on Sunday's "State of the Union."

"Mine was for a change in this country. Mine was for bringing hopes for the people of this country, and making the people of Afghanistan true participants in their politics, in the governance, in the developmental process, in the security situation and as a whole."

Abdullah and other charged massive fraud in the August 20 vote. The initial results gave Karzai the win, but a subsequent review by a U.N.-backed panel of election monitors threw out nearly one-third of Karzai's votes because of "clear and convincing evidence of fraud."

The result left Karzai short of the 50 percent need to avoid a runoff. After a flurry of meetings with U.S. and U.N. officials, the Afghan president agreed to the November 7 vote.

In a separate CNN interview to be broadcast Sunday on "Fareed Zakaria GPS," Karzai insisted that while there were "mistakes" and "some incidents of fraud" in the election, "the election as a whole was clean."

Abdullah rejected that notion.

"To call this as clean elections, I think this, with all due respect to Mr. Karzai, it's a bit of ignorance," he told King, adding that "unfortunately, the government was involved."

"Yes, it was a step forward that the people of Afghanistan participated in the elections," he said.

"One chapter is behind us," he said. "It led to the runoff. And we need to get it corrected in order to open the door for the new chapter. So denying it is not a solution. Rather admitting it and correcting it, that will be responsible leadership."

Karzai said the second round of voting must take place or else "we would be insulting democracy." But he also said he had decided after agreeing to the runoff that "all that was said (about fraud in the election) was mostly wrong."

"There were some mistakes. There were some instances of fraud, but the nation as a whole was clean and the result was clear. 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 runoff," he said.

Meanwhile, in Washington, President Barack Obama's special representative to Pakistan and Afghanistan, Richard Holbrooke, said that the election process had worked as it was supposed to.

"From the beginning ... I said publicly that this election would be imperfect," Holbrooke said. "I said it on the record. And there were many irregularities. But in the end, the process worked, and I want to stress that. The Election Complaints Commission declared that neither candidate got 50 percent, although one came very close, and that the top two candidates were President Karzai and Dr. Abdullah and they should have a runoff."

Holbrooke added that it was "reasonable to hope" for fewer irregularities in a runoff.


Filed under: Afghanistan • Popular Posts • State of the Union
soundoff (11 Responses)
  1. diridi

    America needs to get out of Afganistan, and Iraq, concentrate on Health care reform with public option, and industrial sector into the nation., and stricter immigration policies to the nation....pass laws to Banking, Credit cards, and wallstreet not to cheat....the public....these things are very imminent...and followed forthwith to win finanicial stability...education is a must for all americans....seniors do not make fuss...saying repbulicans this and that...GOP is the biggest idiots...brought to this level in the nation...god bless...

    October 25, 2009 09:08 am at 9:08 am |
  2. Death Panel Sarah

    What do you expect.....Karzai learned from the pros(Bush) how to rig an election!!!

    October 25, 2009 09:15 am at 9:15 am |
  3. Death Panel Sarah

    We set a really bad example for them....Karzai see, Karzai do!!!

    October 25, 2009 09:16 am at 9:16 am |
  4. Death Panel Sarah

    Just think, if the UN would have checked into the 2000 or the 2004 election here.....

    October 25, 2009 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  5. A concerned citizen

    Why do you think that by asking someone running for office in another country has any place in reporting news? That is his opinion, not news. Are you that deparate for news that you have to make it up? Try showing your support for our president and troops, In my opinion you are acting like a traitor when you consistanly question our president with war related information not to mention putting our troops in harms way by telling our enemies what we are doing. Does this make since to anyone else? By the way the only one charge with giving the state of the union is our president, not John KIng. Please stop watching CNN until they stop treating the news as a place to voice someone's opionion. Where were all this qustioning when Bu sh was in office? If you did maybe Obama would have such a s mess to clean up. Be fair in your news reporting.

    October 25, 2009 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  6. Flo

    The runoff election will not change the outcome unless Abdullah cheats as well. Karzai will be the victor and will have to show the administration he is serious about a strong coalition. Maybe even charge his brother with corruption or isolate him to give credence to his presidency. I think President Obama already has a plan A&B but is waiting for the election politics to be over before endorsing his plan.

    October 25, 2009 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  7. Nick

    Is there a clear choice that the Obama Administration wants as a winner? Neither one is a good choice. I do hope that whomever is the victor is actually the victor by a fair election. Afganistan is a very unstabel region and the US presence is very important. I hope that the new government will take up a larger role in weeding out the terriiorists so that our men and women can come home. We have a vestided interest in Afganistan because of oil. We talk about the process of democracy and how important it is in order to get public attention. We all know the real reason- oil.

    October 25, 2009 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  8. Death Panel Sarah

    To 'A Concerned Citizen'....
    John King is the host of a show titled "State of the Union".......it is a show. News shows often have guests and ask their opinion of current events that usually affect this country. Of course it is opinion. That, sometimes, is also worth knowing. Everything on CNN doesn't have to be news. They can give opinions, too.
    I just thought you should know.

    October 25, 2009 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  9. Robert Deebach

    Just thinking if it wrong for pres, Obama to play basketball with the boys. Then how about or leaders who belong to the women an black caucus clubs

    October 25, 2009 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  10. Hugo

    Death Panel Sarah October 25th, 2009 9:18 am ET

    Just think, if the UN would have checked into the 2000 or the 2004 election here.....
    ______________________________________________________
    Yeah, and while they are at it they can take a look into the Obama and Clinton campaign funding machines....ACORN

    Afghanistan and Pakistan are unable to create an all powerful centralized Government. The people do not want it, perhaps it gives too much power and control to one specific group of lawyers, I mean politicians....

    October 25, 2009 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  11. Hugo

    Death Panel Sarah October 25th, 2009 11:24 am ET

    To 'A Concerned Citizen'....
    John King is the host of a show titled "State of the Union".......it is a show. News shows often have guests and ask their opinion of current events that usually affect this country. Of course it is opinion. That, sometimes, is also worth knowing. Everything on CNN doesn't have to be news. They can give opinions, too.
    I just thought you should know.
    ______________________________________________________

    Yes, just like Glen Beck, Sean Hannity and Bill O'Reilly do for the Fox NEWS network...with the only difference being that if you're a libtard you call them names and attack those evil white devil racists that eat small children.

    October 25, 2009 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |

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