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Page last updated at 15:10 GMT, Saturday, 29 August 2009 16:10 UK

Afghan's Karzai extends poll lead

President Karzai on 22 August
President Karzai rejects allegations of fraud

President Hamid Karzai has extended his lead over his main rival in the Afghan presidential election, according to partial official results.

The election commission announced he has just over 46% to Abdullah Abdullah's 31.4%.

The results are from a third of polling stations in the election nine days ago.

Mr Abdullah has again alleged "massive, state-crafted" fraud. He told the BBC ballot boxes had been stuffed with hundreds of thousands of votes.

"My concern is about massive fraud, state-crafted, state-engineered fraud which has taken place throughout the country," he said.

"Today we were having meetings with representatives of five provinces. In eyewitness accounts of the elections, it's just dreadful. It's just alarming.

"My point is whether the outcome of the elections will be decided based on massive fraud or the vote of the people," said Mr Abdullah.

My point is whether the outcome of the elections will be decided based on massive fraud or the vote of the people
Abdullah Abdullah

His comments came only days after it emerged that US special envoy to Afghanistan Richard Holbrooke, in a meeting with Mr Karzai, raised concerns about ballot-stuffing and fraud by a number of candidates' teams.

However, officials of both Mr Holbrooke and Mr Karzai denied reports their talks had been "explosive" and a "dramatic bust-up."

Run-off poll

The election commission has maintained that there were only a few complaints of voting irregularities.

A candidate needs 50% of votes cast to avoid a second round run-off.

Afghan presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah
Abdullah Abdullah says hundreds of ballot boxes were stuffed.

As the number of results goes up a clearer picture will emerge of whether Mr Karzai or any other candidate will win more than 50% of the vote and claim victory without a second round, says the BBC's Chris Morris in Kabul.

Election officials say final results will not be available until 3 September at the earliest.

The election commission said just over two million votes had now been counted.

We could get another 50,000 Afghan army personnel trained over the next year. Stepping up that means that the Afghans take more responsibility for their own affairs
Gordon Brown

Kabul lawmaker Ramazan Bashardost was placed in third position, ahead of former World Bank economist Ashraf Ghani.

In an unexpected move, UK Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, arrived in Afghanistan where he visited British troops fighting the Taliban in southern Helmand province.

He praised the soldiers' role in helping prevent the Taliban from disrupting the elections and promised to speed up the training of Afghan security forces.

"I think we could get another 50,000 Afghan army personnel trained over the next year," he said.

"Stepping that up means that the Afghans take more responsibility for their own affairs."



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