Afghan election officials say President Hamid Karzai holds a firm lead
in the country's disputed election, according to a nearly complete vote
tally announced Saturday.
Afghanistan's Independent Election Commission says, with 93 percent of
the results tallied, Mr. Karzai holds a 54 percent lead, more than the
50 percent needed to avoid a runoff.
His main challenger, former Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah has 28
percent of the vote. But Dr. Abdullah and other candidates are
disputing the results.
The results will not be final until a different, U.N.-backed Electoral
Complaints Commission investigates allegations of widespread fraud .
United Nations Spokesman Aleem Siddique in Kabul tells VOA it is too
soon to judge the outcome of the election, because there have been more
than 2,000 complaints about the August 20 vote.
If the Complaints Commission throws out enough votes, it could bring Mr. Karzai below the 50 percent threshold.
Thursday, the Complaints Commission excluded ballots from 51 polling
sites in Kandahar, 27 in Ghazni and five in Paktika. Those areas showed
strong support for incumbent President Karzai.
Friday, the U.S. special envoy to Afghanistan (Richard Holbrooke) said
people should not "jump to conclusions" before the investigations are
complete. But he also said drawing out the process of vote counting
over months could lead to instability in the country.