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In pictures: Afghans go to the polls

© Photo: AFP

Video by Halla MOHIEDDEEN

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2014-04-06

Millions of Afghans defied threats by the Taliban to vote in the country’s landmark presidential elections on Saturday, with turnout exceeding expectations.

Long queues of voters waited throughout the day outside many of the 6,400 polling centres, with the final turnout expected to exceed 50 percent - a significant increase on the country’s last presidential elections in 2009, when only around a third of voters cast ballots.

The Taliban had urged their fighters to target polling staff, voters and security forces, but there were no major attacks reported during the day as a massive security operation sought to minimise the risk of violence.

Counting will now begin as the country chooses its successor to President Hamid Karzai in what will be Afghanistan’s first-ever democratic transfer of power, though preliminary results are not due until April 24.

A total of eight candidates stood in the election, with no clear favourite among the front-runners to succeed Karzai - former foreign minister Zalmai Rassoul, Abdullah Abdullah, who was runner-up in the 2009 election, and former World Bank academic Ashraf Ghani.

If no candidate wins more than 50 percent of the vote in the first round a run-off is scheduled for late May.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP)

Date created : 2014-04-05

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