Afghan officials on Monday canceled Saturday’s run-off presidential vote after the withdrawal from the race of the last challenger, Abdullah Abdullah, and declared President Hamid Karzai to be the winner of the country’s fraught elections.
Azizullah Ludin, the chairman of Afghanistan’s election commission, said the Constitution did not require a run-off and the vote had been canceled, contrary to the publicly expressed wishes of Mr. Karzai. Mr. Ludin cited security and financial concerns about the cost of the vote.
Mr. Karzai and Afghanistan’s Independent Election Commission had been under intense pressure from Afghanistan’s international backers, including the United States, to cancel the second round of voting because of fears relating to security and a potential repetition of the massive vote-rigging that marred the first round.
At a news conference, Mr. Ludin said that as a result of the cancellation, the election commission had declared Mr. Karzai the winner.
Mr. Ludin said Mr. Karzai had won the majority of votes in the first round “and was the only candidate in the second round.” Accordingly, Mr. Ludin said, Mr. Karzai was “declared the elected president of Afghanistan.”
The announcement capped a tumultuous period since the first round of voting on Aug. 20. Since then casualties have mounted among American and allied forces fighting the Taliban, while the nation has been seized with accounts of huge vote-rigging that delivered Mr. Karzai’s victory.