Karzai defends vote 'integrity'
Afghan President Hamid Karzai says he believes in the integrity of last month's election process despite allegations of vote-rigging, BBC reported.
He denied there had been major fraud and said he was "shocked" by EU observers' claims that a quarter of votes could be fraudulent.
Mr Karzai said it was up to the Afghan constitutional bodies to investigate any allegations of fraud.
Final preliminary results have given Mr Karzai victory with 54.6% of the vote.
"I believe firmly, firmly in the integrity of the election and the integrity of the Afghan people, and the integrity of the government in that process," Mr Karzai told a news conference.
He accepted there were some government officials who were "partial" to his candidacy, and others who supported his chief rival, the former foreign minister Abdullah Abdullah.
"That's something that we understand and we must accept for now until Afghanistan grows further into a more stable state structure, into a more bureaucratised civil service and into a more apolitical institutionalised civil and military service in the country," he said.
But he said any fraud during the 20 August election "wasn't that big".
"If there was fraud, it was small - it happens all over the world," he said.
He added that any allegations of fraud should be investigated "fairly and without prejudice".
Mr Karzai told reporters there had been overwhelmingly negative press coverage of the election, which was unfair on the Afghans who braved the violence to turn out and vote.
"Almost half of the country was under attack, hundreds of rockets came on election sites all over the country, but people even then came out and voted," he said.
"That's what I'm seeking, a respect for that day, a respect for the bravery of the Afghan people to come and vote."