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Afghan President Candidate Abdullah Says Won't Accept Vote Count

Afghan President Hamid Karzai (center) speaks during celebrations to commemorate Afghanistan's 95th anniversary of independence as he is flanked by presidential candidates Abdullah Abdullah (right) and Ashraf Ghani in Kabul on August 19.

Afghan presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah says he will not accept the results of the country's June 14 runoff vote and that efforts to agree on a national unity government with his rival are deadlocked.

"Unfortunately, the vote count process has lost its legitimacy," he said in a nationally televised press conference in Kabul on September 8.

"We do not accept fraudulent election results and we will not accept a fraudulent government for a day," Abdullah said.

He spoke as the final result of an audit of the runoff ballots is expected to be announced later this week and for now remains unknown to the public.

Abdullah also said he believed he won both rounds of Afghanistan's presidential election and will continue fighting to be recognized the winner.

He won the first round of voting in April but did not get enough votes to avoid a June runoff.

Abdullah and rival candidate Ashraf Ghani met earlier on September 8 to discuss ways to form a national unity government.

But Fazel Rahman Orya, a spokesman for Abdullah's electoral team, said the results of the meeting were "completely negative."

Ghani has not yet commented on the meeting.

Under a U.S.-brokered deal, Abdullah and Ghani have pledged to accept the audit results and join together in a national unity government whose form has yet to be determined.

However, Abdullah's statements now dim hopes the political crisis in Kabul will end soon.

Afghanistan's presidential election has already been gridlocked for months in ballot examinations and recounts following accusations from both sides of voter fraud.

U.S. President Barack Obama on September 6 urged the two candidates to complete a power-sharing deal as soon as possible.

With reporting by AP and dpa