Abdullah leading in Afghan presidential poll

Kabul, April 20: Former foreign minister Abdullah Abdullah led in the Afghanistan presidential election with 49.75 percent of votes cast in the April 5 poll counted so far, chairman of the election commission Mohammad Yusuf Nuristani said Sunday.

Nuristani said Abdullah was leading with 44.4 percent of the votes, followed by Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai with 33.2 percent. Zalmai Rassoul is in third place with 10.4 percent, Xinhua reported.

The initial results were based on 49.75 percent of the vote from all 34 provinces in the country.

A candidate must secure more than 50 percent of the vote to win an outright victory.

A run-off is widely expected to take place between the top two contenders.

Nuristani said the results announced Sunday were partial results, noting the election commission would do its best to announce the preliminary results of the elections next Thursday.

He also said that the results could be changed.

More than seven million Afghans, out of 12 million eligible voters, cast their votes to elect the country’s new president April 5.

Final results of the presidential elections are scheduled to be announced on May 14.

IANS