Karzai leads in Afghan vote count

President Hamid Karzai has maintained his early lead in Afghanistan's election with just over 8% of the ballots counted.

    Opposition candidates say the vote was rigged to favour Karzai

    The election commission said on

    Sunday that

    Karzai had polled 61.6% of the estimated 8.3% of

    votes counted.

    In second place with 17.6% was former education minister

    Yunus Qanuni, the Joint Electoral Management Body said

    in a statement.

    In third place with 11.4% was Uzbek regional commander Abd al-Rashid

    Dostum, while Hazara commander Muhammad Muhaqiq

    was in fourth with 3%.

    In seventh place was the only woman out of the 18 presidential

    candidates - Masuda Jalal - who had garnered 1% of the



    President Karzai is widely expected to maintain his strong lead

    in the coming days.

    Ethnic voting

    He commands strong support from the country's

    majority Pashtun community who live mainly in the south and


    The elections passed off without
    the expected surge in violence

    In the northern Panjshir valley, Tajik Qanuni won 95% of the

    vote so far, reflecting how voting has broken up

    along ethnic lines.

    Afghanistan's election passed off without major violence but was

    hit by allegations of fraud and mismanagement.


    candidates alleged the vote had been rigged to favour Karzai.

    An international panel was appointed at the last minute to

    investigate their complaints and head off a threatened boycott of

    the 9 October polls.

    Some 686,447 of an estimated seven million votes have so far been counted




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