President Hamid Karzai and his chief rival, former foreign minister Abdullah Abdullah, were to be the only two candidates in a Nov. 7 runoff election. However, Afghanistan's Independent Election Commission canceled the second round of voting after Abdullah withdrew from the race.

Karzai declared election victor

Karzai declared victor

Afghan election officials canceled a presidential runoff scheduled for Nov. 7 and declared President Hamid Karzai the winner, a day after his top challenger said he would not participate. Abdullah had demanded major changes to guard against a repetition of the widespread fraud found to have marred the August vote. | Photos


Millions of Afghans went to the polls on Aug. 20, 2009, for the nation's second presidential election since the fall of the Taliban in 2001. Despite Taliban threats, the election was relatively peaceful and orderly. However, after two months of political turmoil, Afghanistan's election commission ordered a runoff election for Nov. 7 after a fraud investigation invalidated nearly a million of President Hamid Karzai's votes. Days before the scheduled vote, Karzai's top rival withdrew and Karzai was declared the winner.


Afghanistan's electorate is largely illiterate, lives in remote areas and riven by deep ethnic divisions.
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CREDITS: Liz Heron, Amanda Lilly, Sarah Sampsel, Heather Farrell, Laris Karklis, Cristina Rivero (The Washington Post)
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