Afghan election results give Karzai 55% of vote
Afghanistan's incumbent President Hamid Karzai has garnered 54.6 per cent of the country's presidential vote, according to preliminary results released Wednesday in Kabul.
His main challenger, former foreign minister Abdullah Abdullah, received 27.8 per cent of the vote in the Aug. 20 election.
However, the results will not be final until they are approved by a separate election fraud watchdog, which has called for a recount in about 10 per cent of polling stations.
The Electoral Complaints Commission (ECC) announced last week that the first orders have been issued to exclude some ballots from the presidential vote, which has become increasingly marred by reports of fraud.
Nearly all the ballots come from 51 polling stations in Kandahar province, five polling stations in Paktika province and 27 in Ghazni province. They are being excluded from the final tally, the commission said, because they show "clear and convincing evidence of fraud."
The commission began investigating the ballots cast at those polling stations after several complaints about the polling and counting period.
The commission has received more than 2,800 complaints about polling day and the counting process, of which 726 have been deemed serious and specific enough to affect polling station results.
The recount could take months. If enough votes are invalidated, Karzai's returns could drop below 50 per cent, forcing him into a two-man run-off with Abdullah.
But Karzai spokesman Waheed Omar said the result made it exceedingly unlikely that the probe could overturn the outcome. "Unless a miracle happens, we are the winner," he said.
Fraud accusations have tainted the election. The European Union's team counted about 1.5 million suspicious ballots among the 5.5 million released.
With files from The Associated Press