Afghan president leads preliminary poll results

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Hawa Alam Nuristani, head of the Afghan Independent Election Commission, leaves after announcing the preliminary elections results during a press conference in Kabul. (AFP)
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Afghanistan’s President Ashraf Ghani won 50.64 percent of the vote in the September 28 poll, according to the Independent Election Commission. (AFP)
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Updated 23 December 2019

Afghan president leads preliminary poll results

  • There was no immediate comment from any of the candidates

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.

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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.

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.


Ethiopian PM says troops ordered to move on Tigray capital

Updated 53 min 30 sec ago

Ethiopian PM says troops ordered to move on Tigray capital

NAIROBI, Kenya: Ethiopia’s prime minister says the army has been ordered to move on the embattled Tigray capital after his 72-hour ultimatum for Tigray leaders to surrender ended, and he warns residents to “stay indoors.”
The statement Thursday by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s office means tanks and other weaponry can now close in on the city of some half-million people. His government has warned of “no mercy” if residents don’t move away from the Tigray leaders in time.
The new statement asserts that thousands of Tigray militia and special forces surrendered during the 72-hour period. “We will take utmost care to protect civilians,” it says.
Communications remain severed to Tigray, making it difficult to verify claims.
THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. AP’s earlier story follows below:
The United Nations says shortages have become “very critical” in Ethiopia’s embattled Tigray region as its population of 6 million remains sealed off and its capital is under threat of attack by Ethiopian forces seeking to arrest the regional leaders.
Fuel and cash are running out, more than 1 million people are now estimated to be displaced and food for nearly 100,000 refugees from Eritrea will be gone in a week, according to a new report released overnight. And more than 600,000 people who rely on monthly food rations haven’t received them this month.
Travel blockages are so dire that even within the Tigray capital, Mekele, the UN World Food Program cannot obtain access to transport food from its warehouses there.
Communications and travel links remain severed with the Tigray region since the deadly conflict broke out on Nov. 4, and now Human Rights Watch is warning that “actions that deliberately impede relief supplies” violate international humanitarian law.
Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s 72-hour ultimatum for the Tigray People’s Liberation Front leaders to surrender ended Wednesday night. His government has said Mekele is surrounded.
The UN has reported people fleeing the city. Abiy’s government had warned them of “no mercy” if residents didn’t move away from the TPLF leaders who are accused of hiding among the population.
But with communications cut, it’s not clear how many people in Mekele received the warnings. The alarmed international community is calling for immediate de-escalation, dialogue and humanitarian access.
Abiy on Wednesday, however, rejected international “interference.”