U.S. calls for ''full and thorough review'' of alleged irregularities in Afghan presidential election. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) The United States is calling for what it calls a "full and thorough review" of alleged election irregularities in Afghanistan. At a briefing in Washington on Monday, (July 7) State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said an investigation is necessary in order for the Afghan people to have confidence in their government. "There are serious allegations of fraud, which I think you referenced there, and they've been raised and in our view they haven't been sufficiently investigated, so, right now, our focus is on encouraging a full and thorough review of all reasonable allegations of irregularities," Psaki said. "We think that's essential to ensuring that the Afghan people have confidence in the integrity of their electoral process." The Independent Election Commission on Monday announced that Ashraf Ghani won the June 14 run-off election with 56.44 percent of the vote, according to preliminary results. The tally might change when the final official numbers come out on July 22. Those results were rejected by rival Abdullah Abdullah, whose supporters said the total included invalid ballots. The rejection sets the stage for a standoff between ethnic groups, or even possibly a secession of parts of the country, which is deeply divided along tribal lines. Abdullah draws much of his support from the Tajik minority in the northern part of the country, while Ghani is favored by Pashtun tribes in the south and east. Psaki said the U.S. has been in touch with both candidates and refused to endorse either.