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Afghanistan Begins Partial Vote Recount


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Afghan officials are recounting a sample of the votes from last month's disputed presidential election, in an effort to resolve weeks of uncertainty about the outcome.

Preliminary results from the August 20 vote show President Hamid Karzai winning with 54 percent. But if enough votes are found to be fraudulent, and his tally falls below 50 percent, he could face a run-off against his chief rival, former Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah.

To speed up the recount process, the United Nations-backed panel investigating the fraud allegations agreed to allow election officials to review a portion of the votes from polling stations with suspected problems.

The Electoral Complaints Commission said Friday that 313 ballot boxes had been randomly selected from the more than 3,000 sites. Candidate agents and observers served as witnesses.

The preliminary results showed Abdullah Abdullah with 28 percent of the vote. But the ECC already has said that it found "clear and convincing evidence of fraud" in the election.