Saturday, August 29, 2009

Afghan's Karzai extends poll lead

President Hamid Karzai has extended his lead over his main rival in the Afghan presidential election, according to partial official results.

The election commission announced he has just over 46% to Abdullah Abdullah's 31.4%.

The result is based on a third of the votes from the poll held nine days ago.

Mr Abdullah has again alleged "massive, state-crafted" fraud. He told the BBC ballot boxes had been stuffed with hundreds of thousands of votes.

"My conctes.

"My concern is about massive fraud, state-crafted, state-engineered fraud which has taken place throughout the country," he said.

"Today we were having meetings with representatives of five provinces. In eyewitness accounts of the elections, it's just dreadful. It's just alarming.

"My point is whether the outcome of the elections will be decided based on massive fraud or the vote of the people," said Mr Abdullah.

Run-off poll

The election commission has maintained that there were only a few complaints of voting irregularities.

A candidate needs 50% of votes cast to avoid a second round run-off. Election officials say final results will not be available until 3 September at the earliest.
The election commission said just over two million votes had now been counted.

Kabul lawmaker Ramazan Bashardost was placed in third position, ahead of former World Bank economist Ashraf Ghani.

In an unexpected move, UK Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, arrived in Afghanistan where he visited British troops fighting the Taliban in southern Helmand province.

He praised the soldiers' role in helping prevent the Taliban from disrupting the elections and promised to speed up the training of Afghan security forces.


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