Sunday, September 6, 2009

Karzai closer to Afghan poll win - BBC

Partial results from Afghanistan's presidential election show incumbent Hamid Karzai has extended his lead.

With three-quarters of votes counted, Mr Karzai had 48.6%, followed by Abdullah Abdullah with 31.7%.

Officials said results from 447 of about 28,000 polling stations had been annulled, after fraud investigations.

The winner needs to secure an outright majority of 50% to avoid a run-off. The 20 August poll has been marred by allegations of widespread fraud.

'State-engineered fraud'

The BBC's David Loyn in Kabul says it looks likely that Mr Karzai will eventually pass the 50% threshold, given that much of the remaining votes to be announced are from his southern powerbase.

Out of 4.3m valid votes, Mr Karzai had so far won 2.08m and Mr Abdullah 1.36m, said Independent Election Commission official Daud Ali Najafi at Sunday's news conference in Kabul.

Another presidential candidate, Ramazan Bashardost, was a distant third, with fewer than half a million ballots.

Results from some polling stations where 100% of votes went to Mr Karzai would be allowed to stand unless fraud was proved to have taken place, election officials added.

The partial results are provisional, pending investigations into allegations of fraud.

Final results are due on 17 September, but analysts say they are not now expected until the end of the month.

For the full BBC report click here

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