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Karzai Afghanistan's 1st Elected President

Karzai Declared Afghanistan's First Elected President - UN

Following the endorsement of results by the joint United Nations-Afghan electoral board today, Secretary-General Kofi Annan congratulated Hamid Karzai on becoming Afghanistan's first elected President.

"The Secretary General congratulates the people and the Government of Afghanistan, as well as the JEMB, for having conducted a successful and credible election under such difficult circumstances," a spokesman for Mr. Annan said in a statement.

Mr. Annan paid tribute to all the presidential candidates and their supporters for their important role in the democratic process. He also applauded the role of political parties, candidate agents and international observers in making the first-ever democratic elections a success.

The statement said the Secretary-General was gratified that the United Nations, especially the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), "played a significant role in the conduct of a peaceful and credible electoral process."

He also assured the new government that it could continue to rely on UN assistance in consolidating peace and security.

The JEMB declared that Mr. Karzai secured 55 percent of the vote, which took place on 9 October. An expert panel, appointed in the aftermath of the balloting to investigate complaints, verified earlier today that there were shortcomings with the elections, which deserve to be considered to help shape improvements for future polls.

But the panel said the problems that were identified "could not have materially affected the overall result."

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