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Obama Reached Out to Both Afghan Presidential Candidates

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama spoke with both Afghan presidential candidates on Tuesday to discuss the controversial election and the need for calm and political dialogue.

According to the White House, Obama spoke with both Dr. Ashraf Ghani and Dr. Abdullah Abdullah to discuss the continued tabulation of votes cast in last month's election. The first round of the election saw Abdullah win a higher percentage of the vote than Ghani, but fall short of the majority required to avoid a runoff.

On Monday, the Independent Election Commission released preliminary figures that showed Ghani leading the runoff election with 56.44 percent of the vote to Abdullah's 43.56. Abdullah has since accused the Ghani camp of widespread fraud.

Obama stressed in his conversations with each candidate on Tuesday that the U.S. expects the election review will be thorough and will "ensure a credible electoral process." He also urged both sides to "avoid steps that undermine Afghan national unity," asking them to "come together to work toward a resolution that represents the will of the Afghan people and produces a government that can bring Afghanistan together."

Secretary of State John Kerry is expected to continue consulting with both candidates and outgoing Afghan President Hamid Karzai in the coming days.

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