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Two Front-runners in Partial Afghan Vote Count

(Updates with later results and Abdullah/Rassoul talks)

Two clear front-runners have emerged from Afghanistan's April 5 presidential election, former finance minister Ashraf Ghani and opposition politician Abdullah Abdullah.

With about 10 percent of the votes counted, Abdullah was in the lead with nearly 42 percent of the vote. Ghani had about 38 percent. A third candidate, Zalmai Rassoul trailed with less than 10 percent.

About 7 million votes were cast in all. Final results are not expected until next month. A runoff will be held if none of the eight candidates wins an outright majority.

Abdullah told the Associated Press he has held talks with Rassoul. But he said it is premature to discuss a possible alliance. He said he will seek a unity government if he is elected.



Afghan officials say the number of recorded incidents of serious fraud have exceeded figures for the 2009 election, when more than one million votes were canceled.

The Taliban had threatened to disrupt the April 5 vote, but the election took place amid relative peace after several high-profile attacks targeting politicians, journalists and security forces in previous weeks.

President Hamid Karzai was constitutionally barred from running for a third term. He has been in office since U.S.-led forces ousted the Taliban government in 2001.

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