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Afghan election chief resigns

Afghanistan's chief electoral officer has resigned in a bid to resolve a political crisis over allegations of massive fraud in the run-off presidential vote earlier this month.

Zia ul-Haq Amarkhail said he denies any involvement in fraud but is stepping down "for the national interest".

One of the two candidates, Abdullah Abdullah, has said his campaign monitors recorded ballot box stuffing and other irregularities. He suspended co-operation with the vote counting process and demanded Mr Amarkhail be suspended.

The crisis has threatened what Western officials had hoped would be a peaceful transfer of authority.

President Hamid Karzai is constitutionally barred from seeking a third term.

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