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Ghani 'leads Abdullah' in presidential run-off

© Photo: AFP

Video by William HILDERBRANDT

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2014-07-08

Former World Bank economist Ashraf Ghani has won Afghanistan's presidential run-off with 56.4% of the vote to the 43.5% garnered by former foreign minister Abdullah Abdullah, preliminary results released on Monday showed.

Officials said the turnout in the June 14 vote was more than eight million out of an estimated electorate of 13.5 million voters – far higher than expected.

The results are likely to trigger further allegations of fraud from both sides.

"The IEC (Independent Election Commission) admits that, despite best efforts for a better election, there were some technical mistakes and shortcomings in the process," IEC head Ahmad Yusuf Nuristani told reporters.

"We can not deny fraud and violations in the process, in some cases some security forces were involved, in other cases senior government officials like the governors or lower-level officials were involved," he said.

Official results are scheduled to be released on July 24 after a period to allow for an audit and the adjudication of complaints.

Last-minute talks between both sides delayed the release of the results by nearly five hours on Monday as the two campaigns tried to thrash out a deal over the fraud allegations, which threaten to fuel instability in the crisis-wracked country.

Central to the talks is how many of the 23,000 polling stations will now be put through an anti-fraud audit.

"We agreed for an audit of 7,000 polling stations, but they had other conditions that we couldn't agree with, so for now there is only partial agreement," Ghani's spokesman Daud Sultanzoy told AFP before the result.

Potential for deadlock

Abdullah has vowed to reject the preliminary results, alleging "industrial-scale" ballot-box stuffing, while Ghani has said he won fairly.

Abdullah's camp rejected the preliminary results Monday as a "coup" against the
people.

"Our main demand was for the inspection of 11,000 polling stations under the close supervision of the United Nations. Seven thousand polling stations is not enough," Abdullah spokesman Fazel Sancharaki said.

"The negotiations are still ongoing. If they produce a result, we will enter the process, otherwise... we will not recognise it," Sancharaki said.

Both sides said the UN was involved in the talks, but a UN spokesman declined to give further details.

Afghanistan's international backers have lobbied hard to try to ensure a smooth election process, but the contested outcome could realise their worst fears and raise the risk of further civil unrest.

In a blunt warning, US Secretary of State John Kerry said any action to seize power illegally would lead to the end of US financial and security support in the country.

Washington expected “a full and thorough review of all reasonable allegations of irregularities,” he said, stressing there was no justification for violence or “extra-constitutional measures”.

“Any action to take power by extra-legal means will cost Afghanistan the financial and security support of the United States and the international community,” Kerry said in a statement issued as he travelled to China on Tuesday.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP, AP, REUTERS)

 

Date created : 2014-07-07

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