The Corner

Abdullah Pulls Out

This will make things more complicated:

Nov. 1 (Bloomberg) — Abdullah Abdullah withdrew from Afghanistan’s Nov. 7 presidential run-off election against Hamid Karzai, saying a “free and fair” ballot wouldn’t have been possible.

He urged his supporters “not to take to the streets” or demonstrate in two Kabul press conferences today broadcast by international networks including CNN. The former Afghan foreign minister said he was “absolutely not” calling for a boycott of the run-off.

“The Afghan people deserve a better election” than the one that would have occurred, Abdullah said. He said the cost and potential violence connected with staging a second round were among his considerations in dropping out.

“I will pursue my efforts to bring reform and change to this country for the rest of my life,” said Abdullah, who was born in 1960. “I will do my best to institutionalize democracy in Afghanistan. Our commitment is much deeper than what happens today or tomorrow.”

The run-off election will proceed as scheduled, the election commission said today after Abdullah’s announcement, Agence France-Presse reported.