Afghan presidential candidate Karzai wins majority of votes

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Hamid Karzai in 2006
Image: Paul Morse, Executive Office of the President of the United States.
Abdullah Abdullah in 2004
Image: R. D. Ward, U.S. DoD.

Partial results from Afghanistan's presidential election suggest that Hamid Karzai, the incumbent candidate, has won a majority of votes.

With 91.4% of ballots having been counted, Karzai had 54.1% of votes, well above the 28.3% obtained by Karzai's chief rival, Abdullah Abdullah.

According to Afghanistan's election rules, a candidate must receive at least fifty percent of the ballot to prevent a run-off election.

Meanwhile, the United Nations-backed Electoral Complaints Commission said on Monday it had found "convincing evidence of fraud", and called for suspected votes to be recounted.

The UN-appointed commission, which consists of five people, has the ability to discount false votes and order a new election to be held. 720 complaints of fraud have been submitted to the committee.

Spokesman Ian Kelly with the US State department said that "it is very important that these elections are seen as legitimate in the eyes of the Afghan people, in the eyes of the international community. And I am not going to prejudge where this whole thing comes out."

"It is not going to be a matter of days or weeks, it could be a matter of months to sort out all of these allegations," he said.