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Citing His Own Count, Abdullah Claims Victory Over President Ghani In Afghan Vote


Abdullah Abdullah (L) casts his vote in a polling center in Kabul on September 28.

Afghan Chief Executive Officer Abdullah Abdullah has claimed victory over President Ashraf Ghani in a weekend presidential election, citing his own vote tally.

"We received the highest number of votes in the election, and the election will not go to a second round," Abdullah told a news conference in Kabul on September 30.

Fifteen candidates were on the ballot in the September 28 election, but the contest was widely seen as a two-horse race between Abdullah and Ghani.

Preliminary overall results for the election are expected on October 19, allowing electoral bodies to process complaints and tally votes sent to Kabul from remote areas of the mountainous country.

Ghani, 70, and Abdullah, 59, have led a deeply unpopular and fractured national unity government since a U.S.-brokered power-sharing agreement following a disputed, fraud-marred presidential election in 2014.

Abdullah said that with the results his party projects, there will be no repeat of that compromise.

“The situation in 2014 was different. We were the winning team at that time… Now it is 2019 and I have announced, and I am reiterating, that only legal votes will be accepted by us,” he said, referring to his previous statement a day earlier that only votes verified by a biometric system should be counted.

Around 9.6 million Afghans were registered to vote in the election, the fourth presidential vote since the U.S.-led invasion toppled the Taliban in 2001.

Afghanistan's Independent Election Commission (IEC) said late on September 29 that it had counted more than 1.1 million votes in the election, which was marred by a spate of militant attacks across the country and reports of problems at polling stations.

The IEC has said that an unofficial estimate of voter turnout in the election shows that a little more than 2 million voters cast ballots -- a sharp drop from the roughly 7 million who turned out for the last presidential election in 2014.

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