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U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

Afghanistan Elections


Press Conference
Richard Holbrooke
Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan 
Paris, France
September 2, 2009

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Excerpt from AP video of Special Representative Holbrooke's press conference in Paris, France

SPECIAL REPRESENTATIVE HOLBROOKE: We have no candidates and no preference as to whether there is a first-round victory or a runoff. That is for the process to determine. Our advocacy is for a fair process overseen by the Independent Election Commission, taking into account the decisions of the Election Complaints Commission, a process which then elects a government that is legitimate and reflects the will of the people who voted.

SPECIAL REPRESENTATIVE HOLBROOKE: During that process there are going to be many claims of irregularities; that happens in every democracy. We recently had a senatorial election in Minnesota which took seven months to determine the outcome, there were so many charges of irregularities. It certainly won't take that long in Afghanistan, but that happens in democracies, even when they are not in the middle of a war.

SPECIAL REPRESENTATIVE HOLBROOKE: I want to be very clear. Just as we have in the United States, between an election and the inauguration, the United States has one president and that, right now, that is Hamid Karzai. Ambassador Eikenberry and myself and everyone else represented in this room deals with the government on the basis of the fact that he is the current elected president of Afghanistan. We have no problems with this. We have the greatest respect for him and for his role as president. He is also a candidate in an election where the votes are still being counted and where the outcome is still being decided, and on that basis we deal with him as a candidate, just as we deal with other candidates.



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