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UN Security Council hails presidential, provincial council elections in Afghanistan

2009-08-21 08:32 BJT

Special Report: Afghan presidential election |

UNITED NATIONS, Aug. 20 (Xinhua) -- The UN Security Council on Thursday extended a welcome to the holding of the presidential and provincial council elections in Afghanistan, and condemned "the actions of those who sought to deny the voice of the Afghan people by attempting to disrupt the elections."

In a statement read to the press here, British UN Ambassador John Sawers, who holds the rotating Security Council presidency for August, congratulated the people of Afghanistan "on their participation in these historic elections."

Despite Taliban attacks in 15 provinces, millions of Afghans on Thursday went to 7,000 polling stations across the country to choose their president, who is elected for a five-year tenure and could serve a maximum of two terms.

Among the 41 candidates, former Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah and former Financial Minister Ashraf Ghani are main rivals of President Karzai, who won the 2004 presidential election with 55 percent of the vote.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai hailed the election a success, praising the Afghan people for braving Taliban "bombs and intimidations." His government said at least 26 people have been killed in the attacks.

The vote counting could take about three weeks and the final result is expected to be announced on Sept. 17. Candidate who can fix the victory must get more than 50 percent of the vote, reports said.

"The members of the Security Council welcome the holding of the presidential and provincial council elections in Afghanistan on Aug. 20, 2009," the statement said.

"The members of the Council reiterate the importance of these elections as Afghanistan, working together with other members of the international community, continues to make progress towards its goals and congratulate the people of Afghanistan on their participation in these historic elections," the statement said.

Editor: Zhang Pengfei | Source: Xinhua