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    Afghan Election Results Point to Possible Run-Off

    Afghan presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah speaks during an interview in Kabul, April 20, 2014.
    Afghan presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah speaks during an interview in Kabul, April 20, 2014.
    VOA News
    Partial results from Afghanistan's April 5 presidential election show former foreign minister Abdullah Abdullah still in the lead, but without a clear majority that would rule out a run-off vote.

    The Independent Election Commission said Thursday that so far in the vote count, Abdullah has 43.8 percent, former World Bank official Ashraf Ghani has 32.9 percent and former foreign minister Zalmai Rasoul has 11.1 percent.

    Commission chairman Ahmad Yousuf Nuristani says nearly 83 percent of votes have been counted. He told reporters in Kabul that with only 17 percent of votes left to count, it is doubtful there will be a clear winner and that a run-off is possible. A candidate must receive more than 50 percent of the vote to be declared a winner.

    On Wednesday, the commission had said it would delay releasing preliminary results until April 26 to allow more time to investigate possible fraud and other irregularities. It is unclear why the count was released on Thursday, as originally planned.

    An official with Ghani's campaign, Abas Noyan, told VOA's Afghan Service Thursday that once the election commission investigates all complaints, there will be "significant changes in the results" of the presidential vote. Noyan also acknowledges the possibility of a run-off and says Ghani is prepared for a second round.

    Abdullah was the runner-up in the 2009 election won by President Hamid Karzai amid allegations of irregularities and ballot fraud.

    The winner of the April 5 election will replace Mr. Karzai, who could not run again because of constitutional limits. The next president will oversee a transition during which a majority of international troops will be withdrawing from Afghanistan.

    Final election results are due to be released on May 14.

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