Afghan election results to be announced Sunday: official

Kabul (AFP) –


Nearly three months after Afghans voted in presidential polls that were marred by low turnout and fraud claims, the election commission was finally due to announce preliminary results Sunday, an official said.

"We are going to announce the election results today," Zabih Sadaat, a spokesman for Afghanistan's Independent Election Commission (IEC), told AFP.

Preliminary results were originally due October 19 but were repeatedly delayed amid technical issues and allegations of fraud from various candidates.

The protracted limbo has heaped additional uncertainty on Afghans who already are anxiously awaiting the outcome of talks between the US and the Taliban.

Most observers see the election as a two-horse race between incumbent President Ashraf Ghani and his Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah.

If neither candidate scores a majority, the vote will go to a second-round runoff, probably in the spring.

After the preliminary results are released, candidates have the opportunity to lodge any complaints before a final result is published.

The election was meant to be the cleanest yet in Afghanistan's young democracy, with a German firm supplying biometric machines to stop people from voting more than once.

But nearly one million of the initial 2.7 million votes were purged owing to irregularities, meaning the election saw by far the lowest turnout of any Afghan poll.