Karzai hails Nov 7 run-off poll

KABUL: Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Tuesday hailed a November 7 second round run-off against his main rival Abdullah Abdullah as a step forward for democracy in the troubled country.

The new election date was announced after a UN-backed Afghan complaints commission confirmed staggering levels of fraud in the August 20 presidential vote, declaring more than one million ballots suspect.

"This is not the right time to discuss investigations, this is the time to move forward to stability and national unity," Karzai told a news conference.

"I call upon our nation to change this into an opportunity to strengthen our resolve and determination, to move our country forward and to participate in the new round of elections," he added.

Karzai won 49.67pct of first round Afghan election

KABUL: Afghan President Hamid Karzai's share of the vote in the first round of the country's presidential election fell to 49.67 percent after fraud investigations, an election official said Tuesday.

"Karzai is 49.67 percent," Noor Mohammad Noor, spokesman for the Independent Election Commission (IEC), told AFP.

By dropping below the 50 percent threshold needed for outright victory, Karzai has triggered a second-round run-off, which will be held on November 7.

Noor said the result for Karzai's main rival Abdullah Abdullah would be announced at a news conference on Wednesday.