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KABUL, Afghanistan – Afghan President Hamid Karzai has thrown his support behind calls for U.N. mediation to resolve complaints about massive fraud in a runoff vote between two candidates seeking to replace him.
Abdullah Abdullah, who is running against Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai, has accused electoral officials and others of trying to rig the June 14 vote against him. That has threatened what Western officials had hoped would be a peaceful transfer of authority, as Karzai is constitutionally barred from seeking a third term.
Karzai told clerics during a meeting on Friday that he met with U.N. officials and spoke to Abdullah on the telephone about the issue.
Seeking to allay fears he might use the crisis to hold onto power, Karzai also set Aug. 2 as the date to inaugurate a new leader.