The announcement means that enough votes are likely to be subjected to the fraud investigation to potentially alter the outcome, prolonging uncertainty over the result for weeks or months.
Main opposition candidate Abdullah Abdullah said that if a result is delayed into next year, he would favour a transitional government led by neither himself nor President Hamid Karzai. Abdullah said he was in discussions with Western officials about Afghanistan’s political future, but he was not involved in talks about forming a coalition with Karzai to end the stand-off.
Grant Kippen, the Canadian, UN-appointed head of the Electoral Complaints Commission, which has the power to veto the election result, said 2,516 polling stations were subject to a recount order his commission issued last week. “That will be the number of polling stations that will be covered by that order to audit and recount,” he said.
Election authorities say a total of 24,630 polling stations opened for the August 20 poll. The ECC has ordered a recount at stations where one candidate received 95% of the vote, or where more than the expected maximum of 600 votes were cast.