News

Karzai, Abdullah Virtually Even in Afghan Vote

Multimedia

Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai is leading by just two percent, according to official, partial election results five days after millions of voters braved Taliban threats to cast ballots.  Mr. Karzai has 40.6 percent of votes tabulated, while his closest challenger has 38.7 percent.

Afghanistan's Independent Election Commission says President Karzai is leading his closest rival by only 10,000 votes. The tallies released cover only 10 percent of the total and are partial results of 21 provinces, including the capital, Kabul.   

Mr. Karzai has just under 213,000 votes while former foreign minister Abdullah Abdullah has nearly 203,000 votes.

IEC spokesman Nur Mohammad Nur tells VOA News these initial results do not give any candidate a basis to declare victory.

"No, it is impossible because these are partial results," he said. "From today we start and we will update the media and the candidates. It is impossible to judge [who is the winner]."  

Election officials say they will release more partial tallies each day this week.

Abdullah, in the meantime, is claiming he has videotape and documents that demonstrate that there were "millions" of fake ballots cast last Thursday.

"We will not allow a big fraud to decide the outcome of the elections. There is no doubt that state-crafted and engineered fraud has been under way," he said.

Abdullah urged his followers to remain calm and not resort to violence.

Six longshot presidential candidates are warning fraud claims threaten to undermine the election and could trigger violence in this country already torn by a Taliban insurgency.

One of the disgruntled contenders, former finance minister Ashraf Ghani, who is touted as a possible chief executive in the next administration, alleges gunmen told people to vote for Abdullah and officials stuffed ballot boxes in favor of the president.

VOA News asked presidential spokesman Humayun Hamidzada for the Karzai administration's reaction to the accusations.

"The allegations of fraud or any wrongdoing will be addressed by those competent authorities," he said. "We are not the ones addressing that.  We will be providing the environment that the elections commission can do its job.  So we will leave that to the elections commission."

Afghan voters will not receive word until September 3, at the earliest, as to who won the presidential election.  The credibility of the announcement will depend greatly on the reported level of voter turnout in key parts of the country and the seriousness of claims of electoral fraud.

In southern Afghanistan, four American servicemen died when a roadside bomb exploded.  The latest casualties make this year the deadliest for foreign forces in the country since the 2001 overthrow of the Taliban. 
 


Steve Herman

A veteran journalist, Steve Herman is VOA's Southeast Asia Bureau Chief and Correspondent, based in Bangkok.

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prisoni
X
Heather Murdock
July 01, 2015 8:59 PM
As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs