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Karzai gains upper hand in early results

Incumbent Hamid Karzai narrowly led the race for the Afghan presidency with just two per cent more votes than his closest rival, the election commission announced on Tuesday in the first partial results.

world Updated: Aug 26, 2009 00:36 IST

Incumbent Hamid Karzai narrowly led the race for the Afghan presidency with just two per cent more votes than his closest rival, the election commission announced on Tuesday in the first partial results.

The partial results amount to about 10 per cent of the total ballots cast in only Afghanistan’s second direct presidential election, which was held last Thursday and has been overshadowed by claims of massive fraud.

“From the total 524,444 valid votes, his excellency Hamid Karzai has got 212,927 and his excellency Abdullah Abdullah has 202,889 votes,” said Daud Najafi, chief electoral officer at the Independent Election Commission (IEC). Those results handed Karzai 40.6 per cent of the initial votes announced and Abdullah 38.6 per cent.

Ramazan Bashardost, a popular Afghan lawmaker who camps out in a tent near parliament and campaigned against corruption, got 53,740 votes and former World Bank economist Ashraf Ghani 15,143 votes, the commission announced.

The officer clarified that the results as unveiled amounted to 10 per cent of 95 per cent of the total votes counted.

Tuesday’s partial results came from 21 of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces but did not amount to all votes from those provinces.

The IEC headquarters in Kabul are still awaiting ballots from two provinces — Helmand in the south, which is a Taliban stronghold, and Badakhshan in the relatively peaceful north.