[JURIST] Afghanistan's Independent Election Commission (IEC) [official website] on Monday declared President Hamid Karzai [BBC profile, JURIST news archive] the winner of the presidential election [JURIST news archive] after challenger Abdullah Abdullah [BBC profile] withdrew from the runoff election to which both parties agreed [JURIST report] last month. Abdullah withdrew from the race [Financial Times report] on Sunday saying he could not be certain the upcoming vote would be free or fair. The runoff election was agreed to after the UN-backed Electoral Complaints Commission (ECC) [official website] invalidated election results from 210 polling stations. The ECC found clear and convincing evidence of fraud and had ordered the IEC to invalidate a percentage of votes from both candidates based on the ECC's September 8 recount order [JURIST report]. US President Barack Obama congratulated [AP report] Karzai, but urged him to eradicate governmental corruption.
Extensive allegations of voter fraud followed the August election and more than 100 complaints [JURIST report] were filed with the ECC by the Abdullah campaign alleging ballot stuffing, inflated vote counts, and intimidation at the polls by Karzai supporters. Doubts were raised about the ECC's work after Maulavi Mustafa Barakzai, one of the two Afghans sitting on the commission, resigned [JURIST report] last month citing "foreign interference." Barakzai's resignation lead to allegations that his actions were influenced by Karzai - allegations that were refuted by Karzai's campaign.