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Afghan Presidential Contender To Accept Probe Verdict

Mohammad Yunos Qanuni (file photo) 11 October 2004 -- Mohammad Yunos Qanuni --> , widely regarded as the main rival to Afghan leader Hamid Karzai --> in the country's presidential election, said today that he will accept the findings of an independent inquiry into allegations of electoral fraud.

Qanuni is the third presidential candidate to say he would accept the results of such an investigation.

"We want to continue the election process," Qanuni said today in Kandahar, according to Reuters. "We don't want to boycott it despite what we considered the irregularities in the election. We want to see this electoral process through. And we appreciate the honor and the will of the Afghans."

Earlier, Mohammad Mohaqeq, the strongest candidate from the Hazara minority, and Mas'uda Jalal, the only woman candidate, said they would accept the findings of an independent investigation. A total of 16 candidates were in the running for the presidency.

The announcements are seen as a breakthrough in political negotiations after opposition candidates said the 9 October election was marred by fraud.

Afghan election officials say they are delaying vote counting while seeking advice on dealing with possible illegal votes. An independent panel has already been created to investigate the fraud claims.


[For more on the Afghan elections and biographies of all 16 presidential hopefuls, see RFE/RL and Radio Free Afghanistan's dedicated "Afghanistan Votes 2004-05" webpage.]