Karzai, Abdullah Virtually Even in Afghan Vote


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.
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.
Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europei
Luis Ramirez
October 02, 2015 4:45 PM
European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europe

European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video First Self-Driving Truck Debuts on European Highways

The first automated semi-trailer truck started its maiden voyage Friday, Oct. 2, on a European highway. The Daimler truck called 'Actros' is the first potentially mass-produced truck whose driver will be required only to monitor the situation, similar to the role of an airline captain while the plane is in autopilot mode. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video Nano-tech Filter Cleans Dirty Water

Access to clean water is a problem for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Now, a scientist and chemical engineer in Tanzania (in East Africa) is working to change that by creating an innovative water filter that makes dirty water safe. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.

Video Demand Rising for Organic Produce in Cambodia

In Cambodia, where rice has long been the main cash crop, farmers are being encouraged to turn to vegetables to satisfy the growing demand for locally produced organic farm products. Daniel de Carteret has more from Phnom Penh.

Video Migrant Influx Costs Europe, But Economy Could Benefit

The influx of hundreds of thousands of refugees and migrants is testing Europe’s ability to respond – especially in the poorer Balkan states. But some analysts argue that Europe will benefit by welcoming the huge numbers of young people – many of them well educated and willing to work. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

Video Botanists Grow Furniture, with Pruning Shears

For something a bit out of the ordinary to furnish your home, why not consider wooden chairs, crafted by nature, with a little help from some British botanists with an eye for design. VOA’s Jessica Berman reports.

Video New Fabric Helps Fight Dust-Related Allergies

Many people around the world suffer from dust-related allergies, caused mainly by tiny mites that live in bed linen. Polish scientists report they have successfully tested a fabric that is impenetrable to the microscopic creatures. VOA’s George Putic has more.

Video Burkina Faso's Economy Deeply Affected by Political Turmoil

Political turmoil in Burkina Faso over the past year has taken a toll on the economy. The transitional government is reporting nearly $70 million in losses in the ten days that followed a short-lived coup by members of the presidential guard earlier this month. The crisis shut businesses and workers went on strike. With elections on the horizon, Emilie Iob reports on what a return to political stability can do for the country's economic recovery.

Video Fleeing Violence, Some Syrians Find Refuge in Irbil

As Syrians continue to flee their country’s unrest to seek new lives in safer places, VOA Persian Service reporter Shepol Abbassi visited Irbil, where a number Syrians have taken refuge. During the religious holidy of Eid al-Adha, the city largely shut down, as temperatures soared. Amy Katz narrates his report.

Video Nigeria’s Wecyclers Work for Reusable Future in Lagos

The streets and lagoons of Africa's largest city - Lagos, Nigeria - are often clogged with trash, almost none of which gets recycled. One company is trying to change that. Chris Stein reports for VOA from Lagos.

Video Sketch Artist Helps Catch Criminals, Gives a Face to Deceased

Police often face the problem of trying to find a crime suspect based on general descriptions that could fit hundreds of people in the vicinity of the crime. In these cases, an artist can use information from witnesses to sketch a likeness that police can show the public via newspapers and television. But, as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, such sketches can also help bring back faces of the dead.

Video Thailand Set to Build China-like Internet Firewall

Thai authorities are planning to tighten control over the Internet, creating a single international access point so they can better monitor content. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Bangkok on what is being called Thailand’s own "Great Firewall."

Video Croatian Town’s War History Evokes Empathy for Migrants

As thousands of Afghanistan, Iraqi and Syrian migrants pass through Croatia, locals are reminded of their own experiences with war and refugees in the 1990s. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from the town of Vukovar, where wartime scars still are visible today.

Video Long Drought Affecting California’s Sequoias

California is suffering under a historic four-year drought and scientists say even the state's famed sequoia trees are feeling the pain. The National Park Service has started detailed research to see how it can help the oldest living things on earth survive. VOA’s George Putic reports.

VOA Blogs