Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai saw his lead increase to 46
percent of the vote in the latest batch of results released by the
country's Independent Election Commission. That is still below the more
than 50 percent he will need to avoid a runoff election with former
foreign minister Abdullah Abdullah.
Election officials say they have now
processed ballots from more than one-third of polling stations
nationwide and just more than two million votes have been deemed valid.
The director of the Independent Election Commission, Dauod Ali
Najafi, announced the vote totals to reporters in Kabul Saturday
evening. "Mr. Hamid Karzai has received 940,558 votes," he said.
That equals 46.3 percent of total valid votes tabulated so far.
Challenger Abdullah's 638,924 votes - just over 31 percent. There are a number of other candidates far behind.
Additional, partial results are to be released on Monday.
President Karzai will need more than 50 percent of the vote to avoid a runoff election against the top challenger.
was asked by a reporter about reports U.S. special envoy Richard
Holbrooke is trying to pressure the Afghan government into holding a
second round to alleviate concerns of widespread voter fraud.
says Holbrooke does not have any right to decide whether or not there
will be a runoff. If no candidate has more than 50 percent of total
valid votes, then there will be a second round of the election.
the Karzai and Abdullah campaigns have exchanged accusations of ballot
box stuffing. Other presidential candidates have also produced evidence
of what they say shows wholesale fraud by officials and campaign
The Election Complaints Commission, partly appointed by
the United Nations, has received more than 2,000 formal complaints. It
says more than 200 are serious and will need to be investigated before
the election results can be certified. That process might take weeks.
as only the second free election for President in Afghanistan's
history, the fraud allegations are threatening the legitimacy of the
Also complicating the picture is a perception
President Karzai, to gain electoral support, has allied with brutal
warlords and others accused of either human rights abuses or drug
Voter turnout was lower than expected,
especially in the troubled south, in part because of Taliban threats
to disrupt the balloting and retaliate against voters.
latest violence, officials in Zabul province say at least two civilians
were killed and 21 wounded Saturda when a suicide bomber in a small
town walked up to NATO and Afghan troops patrolling a market.
roadside bomb struck a convoy Friday in Logar province, killing an
American military member and wounding a U.S. radio network reporter.
attack makes August the deadliest month for U.S. forces in Afghanistan
since the Taliban-led government was ousted in 2001.