[holding answer 26 October 2009]: We welcome the audit process, completed on 19 October, conducted by the Independent Election Commission (IEC) and Electoral Complaints Commission (ECC), which was robust and transparent and we are confident in their findings. On 20 October 2009, the IEC set a date for the second round of the presidential elections and President Karzai and Dr. Abdullah confirmed that they will both run in this.
We are also confident that a second round, due to be held 7 November 2009, can be carried out. Planning for the eventuality that a second round would be required has been taking place for some time and we will continue to provide support for the ongoing preparations. The IEC and Afghan security forces, with UN and International Security Assistance Force support, are working to maximise the opportunities for people to vote.
Afghanistan needs a credible second round and a credible conclusion to this process, resulting in a government that represents the legitimate will of the Afghan people. Our policy to support this process through to the end, and to encourage all parties to respect Afghanistan’s Constitution and Electoral Law, remains consistent and firm.