Fair polls to be happiest day in my life: Karzai

KABUL (Pajhwok): President Hamid Karzai on Sunday said that conducting the April presidential vote in a transparent manner would represent the happiest day in his life.
During a meeting with 11 presidential runners and their deputies at his office, Karzai said that fair elections would be a big achievement for the nation.
Heads and members of election panels, Cabinet Secret chief, defence and interior ministers, the spy service head and his national security advisor attended the meeting.
A statement from the Presidential Palace quoted Karzai as saying: “The happiest day in my life will be when the polls are held in an acceptable way and power successfully transferred to a new president.”
The candidates also shared their views and concerns with the president, underlining the need for government officials’ neutrality during the electoral process.
While calling for preservation of last decade’s achievements, they agreed all contenders should work for promoting national unity. They also concurred the election campaign should be conducted in a responsible fashion.
Heads of both election bodies assured the participants that the polls would be held in a free and inclusive way. Election staff would demonstrate complete impartiality, they promised.  
The president asked the candidates to present him their suggestions on how to minimise meddling from government officials in the process through the commissions.
A satisfactory security environment was central to an acceptable election outcome, he said, adding top defence ministry officials had assured him that Afghan forces were capable of meeting the challenge.

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