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Top Afghan Election Officials In Vote-Rigging Scandal Resign

Independent Election Commission Chairman Azizullah Ludin has stepped down.
Two top Afghan election officials -- accused of vote-rigging in last year's presidential election -- have resigned after President Hamid Karzai accused Western embassies of threatening and bribing them.

Karzai's spokesman says Karzai accepted the resignations today of Azizullah Ludin, the chairman of the Afghan Independent Election Commission, and Daoud Ali Najafi, the commission's chief electoral officer.

Last week, in a speech to the election commission, Karzai accused Western officials and their embassies in Kabul of tampering with elections results in a bid to weaken his government.

He singled out U.S. diplomat Peter Galbraith, the former deputy UN envoy in Afghanistan, and France's Philippe Morillon, the head of the European Union's vote monitoring mission -- saying both were complicit in vote-rigging.

compiled from agency reports