Afghanistan President won a second term with 50.64% of a preliminary vote count announced on Sunday, but his opponents can still challenge the results. It the statement of Afghanistan election commission.
The September 28 presidential poll results have been repeatedly delayed amid accusations of misconduct and technical problems with counting ballots.
Ashraf Ghani appears to have beaten out his main challenger Abdullah, who serves as the country’s chief executive in a fragile national unity government.
If the preliminary results hold and Ghani remains president, it could give him the authority he’s been seeking to demand a leading role in peace talks with the Taliban.
Ghani and his government have been sidelined during the past year of direct talks between the US and the Taliban. Washington seeks to withdraw its combat troops and end 18 years of fighting in Afghanistan, America’s longest war.
Abdullah’s office released a statement saying the results were not legitimate . “We will never accept results based on the fraud count without considering the legal demands of the candidates,” the statement said.
US Ambassador to Afghanistan Johan R Bass tweeted: “Its important for all Afghans to remember these results are preliminary. Many steps remain before final election results are certified, to ensure the Afghan people have confidence in the results”.
Afghan Election commission tried to launch a ballot recount in November but Abdullah halted the attempt, saying he would not let his observers participate. He eventually allowed to recount to go forward earlier this month
Thousands of Abdullah’s supporters had rallied in November against what they said was the presence of faked ballots. The controversial recount seemed set to favor Ghani.