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Abdullah quits Afghanistan’s presidential race

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Afghanistan’s Abdullah Abdullah says he will not take part in the upcoming run-off election, while criticizing the undemocratic electoral procedure in the country.

Abdullah told reporters at a live press conference in Kabul on Sunday that he would not participate in the November 7 elections in protest at the unfair performance of the government and the Electoral Commission.

“I will not take part in the election … I have not taken this decision easily,” Abdullah said, adding he had not told anyone to boycott the ballot.

Karzai said that the election relies on its transparency and that the people of Afghanistan are in a state of bewilderment in the process of the August election.

He called for electoral commission independency noting that democracy should be practiced to bring change to the peoples’ lives.

Hamid Karzai’s main presidential rival had earlier threatened to boycott the vote unless his conditions for running were met.

An unnamed senior adviser to Abdullah said on Saturday that Abdullah might withdraw from the race because his “minimum conditions” for holding a fair and free contest were rejected.

Abdullah, who ranked second to Karzai in the first round of voting on August 20, had called for the sacking of the head of the Afghan Independent Election Commission, Azizullah Lodin. The presidential hopeful had also called for the suspension of four ministers who have campaigned for Karzai and urged the closure of many polling stations, which his supporters cannot monitor for security reasons.

Abdullah has accused the men of involvement in widespread fraud in the first round of the presidential election in August.

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