KABUL: Afghan President Ashraf Ghani was announced on Sunday to be leading the preliminary presidential poll results by the country’s Independent Election Commission (IEC).
Addressing a press conference in Kabul, IEC chief Hawa Alam Nuristani said Ghani had secured 50.64 percent of the votes cast during the Sept. 28 election, while Chief Executive Dr. Abdullah Abdullah got 39.52 percent. Ghani’s vote count was 923,868, while Abdullah’s was 720,990, the IEC announced.
Nuristani said the candidates and their delegates had three days to file complaints with the electoral body. She did not say when the final results will be announced.
More than 1.8 million people — 31 percent of whom were women — voted in the presidential election, which was marred by reports of irregularities and witnessed deadly attacks by the Taliban across the country.
The initial results were expected more than two months ago, but the announcement was postponed several times amid disputes over alleged rigging and technical shortfalls in the process.
Abdullah and several other candidates had warned against announcing poll results until their concerns about 15 percent of votes, which they deemed as bogus and favoring Ghani, were dealt with.
There was no immediate comment from any of the candidates. The UN, which supervised the poll, hailed the announcement of the initial results.
“All candidates have the chance to raise any concerns they may have through the appropriate mechanism and within the prescribed time, in accordance with the relevant legal frameworks, regulations and procedures,” said Tadamichi Yamamoto, the UN secretary-general’s special representative for Afghanistan.