Observers say calls to rerun election unjustified
Kabul, October 10, 2004 - Observers gave their approval to Afghanistan's first-ever presidential election, deeming it "fairly democratic" and rejecting opposition calls for a re-poll on the grounds of fraud.
The Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, which contributed to the 230 foreign monitors, said Saturday's demand by 14 opposition candidates to nullify the landmark election was "unjustified".
Any dispute about the validity of the election results "should be dealt with as the law provides," said Robert Barry, head of the OSCE support team.
"The millions who came to the polls clearly wanted to turn from the rule of the gun to the rule of law," he said.
Opposition candidates charge that the vote was fraudulent and illegitimate, largely because special ink which was supposed to stain voters' fingers to prevent them voting twice could be washed off.
Some of the protest candidates took a softer stance Sunday, saying they would bow to the findings of an election commission inquiry.
H.E. President Hamid Karzai called the vote a "defeat of terrorism."
"It was...really tremendously inspiring to see millions of Afghans come out of their homes and villages and mountainous areas and travel for hours in snow and rain and dust storms to line up and vote," he told BBC television from Kabul.
"The Afghan people yesterday won the day, against terrorism, against all those who said that Afghans could not make it."