News / Asia

Partial Afghan Election Results Put Abdullah in Lead

Former Afghan foreign minister Abdullah Abdullah speaks during an interview in Kabul April 13, 2014.
Former Afghan foreign minister Abdullah Abdullah speaks during an interview in Kabul April 13, 2014.
Ayaz Gul
Preliminary and partial official results from Afghanistan’s April 5 presidential election show a close contest between opposition politician Abdullah Abdullah and former finance minister Ashraf Ghani.   
 
The Afghan Independent Election Commission has counted more than 500,000 votes of the seven million ballots cast. The early figures put Abdullah Abdullah in the lead with nearly 42 percent of the votes counted while his nearest rival, Ashraf Ghani, has about 38 percent.   
 
Announcing the details at a news conference Sunday in Kabul, Commission Chairman Ahmad Yousuf Nuristani cautioned this is not the final result and the frontrunner could change.  He said the initial results are from just 10 percent of the polling stations in 26 of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces.
Former finance minister Ashraf Ghani speaks during a news conference in Kabul April 13, 2014.Former finance minister Ashraf Ghani speaks during a news conference in Kabul April 13, 2014.
x
Former finance minister Ashraf Ghani speaks during a news conference in Kabul April 13, 2014.
Former finance minister Ashraf Ghani speaks during a news conference in Kabul April 13, 2014.


Afghan officials also acknowledge that recorded incidents of serious fraud have exceeded figures for the 2009 presidential election when more than a million votes were canceled.  Nuristani says his commission is determined to address the issue.  
 
He said there is no doubt fraud has taken place in many parts and the Independent Election commission is firmly committed to resolve the issue within its authority and present only those results that are free of fraud.
 
Nuristani vowed to do so in a transparent and open manner in the presence of media, election observers and representatives of the candidates.
 
He emphasized the primary job of investigating irregularities and fraudulent votes lies with the country’s Independent Election Complaints Commission.
 
There could be a runoff election between Abdullah and Ghani if neither gains more than 50 percent of the vote when the final results are announced on May 14.  

The initial results show a third candidate running with the support of President Hamid Karzai’s brothers - Zalmai Rassoul - trails far behind with nearly 10 percent of the votes counted.  

Speaking to reporters, presidential candidate Ghani said the lead Abdullah has at this stage is not significant.

“We are in a hundred minute (football) game and we have only down with ten minutes," Ghani said. "So, as Chairman Nuristani said the results will change every day, every two days, three days.”

The international community is praising the high turnout of an estimated 60 percent of the 12 million eligible Afghan voters in the April 5 balloting, there are fears the evidence of widespread fraud could undermine the legitimacy of the election seen crucial for Afghanistan’s future stability.  
 
The winning candidate will replace President Hamid Karzai who has been leading the country for more than 12 years and could not run again because of constitutional limits.  The political transition will be the first democratic transfer of power in war-ravaged Afghanistan.
 
The United Nations welcomed Sunday’s announcement of the first batch of partial results as a further step towards completing the election process,  while noting the figures represent only a small portion of the millions of ballots cast.

A statement from the U.N. Assistance Mission in Afghanistan cautioned that until the final results are announced by election authorities, “stakeholders should be careful in drawing premature conclusions so as not to create inaccurate expectations.”

You May Like

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
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 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