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Diplomats urge rivals to accept Afghan vote

President Hamid Karzai's camp is now threatening to call into question the legitimacy of the whole election if the final tally shows that he did not win outright.

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Afghan President Hamid Karzai gestures during a press conference at Presidential Palace in Kabul, Afghanistan, Oct. 11.

Musadeq Sadeq/AP/File

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Visits to Afghanistan's two presidential contenders have left high-level foreign officials concerned that whatever the final tally, one side or the other won't accept it.

"For the moment we are worried ... because it seems that not everybody is ready to accept the results," said French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner in Kabul. "They must accept the results."

Nearly two months after voting, Afghanistan still awaits a final tally as an international team resolves thousands of cases of election irregularities. Those decisions are expected to subtract votes from President Hamid Karzai's preliminary lead of 54.6 percent. If his final total slips below a majority, he faces a second election versus his chief rival Abdullah Abdullah.

Mr. Karzai's camp is now threatening to call into question the legitimacy of the whole election if it goes into a runoff. But if the final tally shows that Karzai wins outright, Dr. Abdullah's supporters have threatened to protest in the north. To avoid increased violence – or a complete political stalemate – backroom discussions for a power-sharing government are reportedly taking place. So far, there is no agreement on any such arrangement as the nation awaits final results that could come as soon as Monday.

Why Karzai threatens to reject a runoff

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