Today’s Q’s for O’s WH – 11/2/2009

Nov 2, 2009 1:48pm

TAPPER:  President Obama last month in Pittsburgh said, of the Afghan elections and the aftermath, "What's most important is that there's a sense of legitimacy in Afghanistan among the Afghan people for their government."  Is there a sense of legitimacy in Afghanistan among the Afghan people for the Karzai government?
  
GIBBS:  Well, I have no reason to believe there's not.
  
TAPPER:  Well, Abdullah Abdullah, as you know, one of the demands — or the only demand at the end that he asked for from Karzai to continue with this run-off was for the head of the IEC to be replaced, because there was such a lack of trust in him after the last election.  Karzai refused.  So, obviously, Abdullah Abdullah feels that there's a lack of credibility in the IEC.
  
GIBBS:  Look, Dr. Abdullah made his own personal and political decision about this particular run-off.  I think, if you look at the election results, even after the investigation of allegations of fraud — which, by the way, worked, throwing out enough votes to require a second round, and convincing President Karzai to participate in that, which clearly was not a — by any means a given, I think even in that balloting, you saw that Dr. Abdullah trailed by a fairly large margin President Karzai. So I don't see — I don't think there's any reason to believe that the Afghan people won't think this government is as legitimate as it is.
  
TAPPER:  Well, the reason would be that the last election was considered tainted by fraud and that's the only election they've had.
  
GIBBS:  Well, and those results were thrown out, the fraud was reported, investigated.  The committees that you talked about threw out those votes.  A second round was scheduled, and the participant — the second participant in the second round decided, again, for personal or political reasons, not to take part in the elections. I — I don't know how you can have an election of two candidates if the one who finishes second decides not to participate, even after the laws and institutions of the government threw out what he declared were fraudulent results from the first round.

  
TAPPER:  Personal political reasons?
  
GIBBS:  I said personal and political.
  
TAPPER:  The reasons Abudullah stated were that he would have no faith or trust in this election because the last one was so riddled with fraud and that the same head of the IEC was going to be…
  
GIBBS:  I don't know how you could presume something was going to happen before it did.

-jpt

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