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Afghan run off preferred

KABUL, Nov 3 – President Hamid Karzai said Tuesday it would have been better for Afghanistan to have had a run-off election and bemoaned his only challenger’s withdrawal, after organisers declared him the winner.

"We were hoping, and it would have been better for our country, for the democratic process and for us, if our brother Dr Abdullah had participated in the second round and the second round had taken place," Karzai said.

"That was what we wanted," he told a press conference.

Karzai was declared winner of the election by the country’s electoral commission on Monday in the light of former foreign minister Abdullah Abdullah’s withdrawal from a run-off scheduled for November 7.

In further developments Karzai vowed to "eradicate the stain" of corruption in his country.

"Afghanistan has been defamed by corruption. Our government has been defamed by corruption," Karzai told a press conference.

He spoke just hours after US President Barack Obama said he had told Karzai to step up efforts "to eradicate corruption" and called for a "new chapter" in cooperation between their countries. Related article.

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