In Advance Of November Runoff, Afghanistan Dismisses Election Staffers

Oct. 21, 2009, midnight

Election officials have dismissed more than half of constituency-level election administrators in order to prevent a repeat in November 7's runoff of the massive fraud occurring during August 20's first-round Presidential vote. Incumbent President Hamid KARZAI agreed to the runoff election against challenger Abdullah ABDULLAH shortly before. Sample-based audits this month by the United Nations-backed Electoral Complaints Commission officially reduced KARZAI'S 54 percent majority to 49.67 percent of votes. Several analysts believe that parties' consent to the runoff depended on suggestions that the United States otherwise would reduce its military presence in the country.

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