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Abdullah Leads In First Partial Results From Afghan Vote

The Independent Election Commission says initial results based on 10 percent of the vote from 26 out of 34 provinces show Abdullah Abdullah (left) in the lead with 41.9 percent. Ashraf Ghani (right) trails with 37.6 percent.
First partial results from Afghanistan's presidential election show former Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah is leading his closest rival, former Finance Minister Ashraf Ghani.

Afghanistan's Independent Election Commission (IEC) said initial results based on 10 percent of the vote from 26 out of 34 provinces showed Abdullah in the lead with 41.9 percent. Ghani was second with 37.6 percent.

A third candidate, Zalmai Rasul, had 9.8 percent of the vote.

IEC Chairman Ahmad Yusuf Nuristani warned that the front-runner could easily change as the vote count continues.

Speaking to reporters in Kabul on April 13, Nuristani said the initial results represented a little over 500,000 ballots.

Nader Mohseni, a spokesman for Afghanistan's Electoral Complaints Commission, said the commission had received nearly 1,900 "written and official complaints" about alleged electoral fraud during the April 5 vote.

The commission has also received nearly 1,400 complaints by telephone.

Most of the complaints were submitted from the northern Balkh and western Herat provinces, where some polling stations had run out of ballots on election day.

Mohseni said the commission had "categorized about 870 complaints as Category A, which means these complaints can affect the result of the elections."

Mohseni said the commission was "serious about sorting accurate votes from the fraudulent votes."

The 2009 presidential election was marred by widespread fraud allegations. Mohseni pointed out that "Based on the reviews and numbers provided by the observers there has been less fraud in this election compared to the previous one."

Full preliminary results are due on April 24. Final results will be announced in May once complaints of fraud are fully investigated.

A runoff between the two leading candidates will be held if no single candidate gains more than 50 percent of the vote. The winner will succeed outgoing President Hamid Karzai in the first democratic transition of power in Afghanistan.

More than 7 million of Afghanistan's 12 million eligible voters cast their ballots in the April 5 election, despite threats by Taliban militants.

All three front-runners have pledged to protect women's rights, pursue a peace deal with the Taliban, and sign a bilateral security agreement with the Unites States.
With reporting by Reuters, AP, AFP, and RFE/RL's Radio Free Afghanistan