Obama commends Karzai for agreeing to runoff

President Barack Obama commended his Afghan counterpart, President Hamid Karzai, for having agreed to stand in a runoff election.

"I welcome President Karzai’s statement today accepting the Independent Electoral Commission’s certification of the August 20 election results, and agreeing to participate in a second round of the election," Obama said Tuesday in a statement. "This is an important step forward in ensuring a credible process for the Afghan people which results in a government that reflects their will."

After having maintained an outright victory in public for weeks, Karzai, during a visit this week by Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry (D-Mass.), assented to a second round in elections after the first was rife with allegations of fraud and inconsistencies.

The Obama administration had been reluctant to pronounce Karzai the winner in the aftermath, but took strides to praise the incumbent Afghan president for having agreed to the runoff, thereby avoiding further tumult in the country.

"While this election could have remained unresolved to the detriment of the country, President Karzai’s constructive actions established an important precedent for Afghanistan’s new democracy," Obama said.

"We look forward to a second round of voting, and the completion of the process to choose the President of Afghanistan," he added. "In that effort, the United States and the international community are committed to partnering with the Afghan people."