KABUL, Afghanistan — European Union monitors said Wednesday that about one-third of the votes cast for President Hamid Karzai in the Aug. 20 election are suspicious and should be examined for fraud.
Their assertion was a more serious indictment of the election’s already-marred integrity than that of other foreign monitors and only deepened the political crisis here. President Karzai’s campaign office angrily dismissed the E.U. assertion, which came as the latest preliminary tally of votes showed he had won — if the suspected ballots are included.
Mr. Karzai, who is vying for a second five-year term, won 54.6 percent of the vote, enough to avoid a runoff election, according to the tally released by the country’s independent election commission. His closest challenger, former foreign minister Abdullah Abdullah, won 27.8 percent.
But the election was tainted by blatant evidence ofballot-box-stuffing and other frauds, and the country’s United Nations-backed Electoral Complaints Commission has ordered recounts and forensic examinations of ballot boxes in 10 percent of polling stations — involving at least 15 percent, and possibly a far higher proportion, of reported votes. The complaints commission, headed by a Canadian, is the ultimate arbiter of election results.