Afghanistan election rivals Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani agree to an audit of results

US Secretary of State John Kerry unveiled the breakthrough deal on Saturday night, the winner to form a government of national unity

The two presidential candidates have agreed to an audit to try to resolve a dispute over the result of last month’s vote. In a deal brokered by US Secretary of State John Kerry, Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani agreed to abide by the result of the review of all eight million ballots, which will begin within 24 hours.

Kerry unveiled the breakthrough deal on Saturday night, with both hopefuls promising to abide by the results of the audit, followed by plans for the winner to form a government of national unity with participation of the losing side.

The agreement followed a marathon series of shuttle meetings between the two candidates who took part in the June 14 runoff — former Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah and former Finance Minister Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai.

The two stood by Kerry's side when the bargain was revealed on national television and then spoke endorsing the agreement.

With many Afghans saying the deal exceeded their expectations from Kerry's two-day mediation, the chairman of the country's Independent Election Commission told reporters at a news conference that the commission is ready to start auditing all 8 million votes cast from 23,000 polling station within a few days and hopes to complete the process in three weeks.

AP

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