UPDATE NOV 2: Karzai declared Afghan president, run-off cancelled
President Hamid Karzai’s rival in the second round of the Afghan presidential election has announced in Kabul that he is withdrawing from the poll.
Abdullah Abdullah had set out conditions he wanted to be met for the contest to be considered fair.
But Mr Karzai rejected his demand that election officials who presided over the first round should be dismissed.
Earlier, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said a pull-out would not invalidate the legitimacy of the vote.
“We see that happen in our own country where, for whatever combination of reasons, one of the candidates decides not to go forward,” Mrs Clinton told reporters in the United Arab Emirates.
But the BBC’s Andrew North, in Kabul, says Dr Abdullah’s withdrawal means this is uncharted territory, and it is unclear what will happen next.
There has been much speculation that there could be some kind of deal which would see Dr Abdullah pull out – and possibly the emergence of a national unity government, our correspondent says.
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