Showdown looms over Afghan election

KABUL (AP) - A showdown could be brewing between a U.N.-backed panel and Afghanistan's separate Independent Election Commission over results of the disputed presidential election.

Officials say the IEC, dominated by allies of President Hamid Karzai is refusing to accept the still-unannounced findings of the U.N. panel that would force a runoff.

That has raised fears that Karzai may refuse to go along with a runoff even after the figures are announced. It would further delay the formation of a government that the U.S. believes is needed to help combat the growing Taliban insurgency.

Officials who have seen the results say enough votes were invalidated to bring Karzai under the 50 percent threshold that would avoid a runoff.

A Karzai spokesman says the president will not commit to accepting the findings until they are publicly released.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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