Afghanistan's presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah, center, holds Afghanistan's flag during a protest against election fraud in Kabul, Afghanistan, Friday, June 27, 2014. (AP Photo/Massoud Hossaini)
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No one has provided any hard evidence that the protesters are right, but even within Karzai's family and inner circle, many believe the president quietly engineered the electoral debacle to keep his hands on the levers of power.Hamid Karzai denies that he has any ambitions to remain in office and told U.S. Special Envoy James Dobbins this week that a new president would be inaugurated Aug. 2 as scheduled.The BSA has been blocked since last year by Karzai, who would be unlikely to sign it if he stayed on as president or allow it to be signed if he retains influence.Brother Mahmoud, who is angry about the president's refusal to back a bid by another brother, Qayum, for the presidency, said Hamid Karzai deliberately pushed powerful candidates apart ahead of the first round of voting to ensure a splintered outcome.Kate Clark of the Afghanistan Analysts Network said the first round was genuinely competitive and eliminated the candidate considered by most to be Karzai's favorite.
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