KABUL (Pajhwok): The Independent Election commission (IEC) on Thursday announced a third batch of partial results from the April 5 presidential vote, showing Abdullah Abdullah maintains his lead over closest rival Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai, but unable to secure an outright majority.
The results were based on 82.59 percent (5,857,442) votes tallied so far, with Abdullah collecting 43.8 percent (2,564,284) and Ahmadzai 32.9 percent(1,928,153), IEC chief Ahmad Yusuf Nuristani told a press conference in Kabul.
He said 17.5 percent of the votes remained to be counted, adding it was doubtful that anyone would win in the first round.
Dr. Zalmai Rassoul with 11.1 percent (652,116) votes is in the third position. Abdul Rab Rassoul Sayyaf has secured 7 percent (409,879) of votes, Qutbuddin Hilal 2.8 percent (165,567), Gul Agha Sherzai 1.6 percent (96,407), Daud Sultanzoyi 0.5 percent (27,312) and Hidayat Amin Arsala 0.2 percent (13,724).
Earlier results showed Abdullah had collected 44.4 percent (1,536,133) and Ahmadzai 33.2 percent (1,146,251), with Rassoul trailing at 10.4 percent (357,930).
Provinces where less than 80 percent of the votes had been counted so far include Ghazni 54.98 percent, Daikundi 77.65 percent, Paktika 63.55 percent, Kapisa 79.34 percent, Baghlan 78.54 percent, Uruzgan 78.02 percent, Nimroz 73.24, Ghor 72.31percent, Paktika 63.55 percent, Logar 72.35 percent, Zabul 74.55percent and Maidan Wardak 76.43percent.
Nuristani said the preliminary results would be announced on Saturday. IEC officials on Thursday said they delayed the premiliamry results to allow for audits and recounts, amid calls from Ghani and the Wolesi Jirga to stop releasing further results until bogus votes are separated from valid ones.
On Saturday, IEC spokesman Noor Mohammad Noor told reporters he would not rule out the possibility of a runoff between two top-rated presidential candidates.
He said the vote tallying process was on track and only 30 percent work needed to announce the preliminary results.
Noor said if the election went into a second round stage, the election commission might not be able to hold it in the stipulated time of two weeks after the final results due until May 14.
Under the Afghan Constitution, a presidential candidate must bag 50 plus one percent votes to emerge the winner, and a run-off between two top-rated runners shall take place within two weeks after the final results had been released.
Independent Electoral Complaints Commission spokesman Nader Muhseni told Pajhwok Afghan News they had so far assessed 400 complaints regarding fraud and other irregularities in 17 provinces.
The winner will replace President Karzai, who is in office since the 2001 US-led invasion ousted the Taliban, and whose relations with Washington have sharply deteriorated for his refusal to sign the security agreement.
See voting chart here: http://www.elections.pajhwok.com/en/content/votecount