KABUL: Former Afghan foreign minister Abdullah Abdullah is leading his closest rival Ashraf Ghani in early results from the Afghan presidential election, the Independent Election Commission (IEC) said Sunday, but figures indicate a likely run-off vote.
“Today we announce the partial results of 26 provinces with 10 percent of votes counted, these include (provinces) in the north, south, east, west and Kabul,” said Ahmad Yousuf Nuristani, the IEC chief.
“With 500,000 votes from 26 provinces Dr Abdullah is leading with 41.9 percent; Dr Ashraf Ghani has 37.6 percent and is in second; and Zalmai Rassoul has 9.8 percent in third position.”
Nuristani stressed the figure was only partial and could change drastically in coming days, when more partial results would be announced.
Final results are due on May 14.
Video clips of people stuffing ballot boxes are circulating on the Internet, but it unclear which candidate would have benefited most from such activity.
Urban participation in the election was unexpectedly high, but it is unclear to what extent rural voters were deterred by the Taliban and what role state officials, including police, had in encouraging people to back a particular candidate.
The United Nations, which administers the fund that is paying for the election commission and the complaints body, said it was still too early to call the election.
“Until the final results are announced by the IEC, stakeholders should be careful in drawing premature conclusions so as not to create inaccurate expectations,” said U.N. special envoy Jan Kubis.