Karzai maintains Afghan poll lead

Incumbent retains firm lead in presidential vote as fraud allegations persist.

    Karzai has led in successive partial ballot counts announced since the poll [AFP]

    Commissions 'at loggerheads'

    James Bays, Al Jazeera's correspondent in Kabul, the capital, said: "Kabul is a city at the moment swirling with rumours.

    "In terms of the results, we don't have a lot more information and I think that's causing some concern.

    "It looks like the Independent Election Commission [IEC] might be at loggerheads with the separate Election Complaints Commission [ECC]."

    Bays said a few days ago the ECC had ordered a partial recount at polling stations where one candidate got more than 95 per cent of the vote, or where there was a suspiciously high turnout of more than 600 voters.

    But he said: "The IEC, the Afghan body that organises these elections, have come up with their own criteria for a recount.

    'Stormy meeting'

    "They are saying they are only going to look at stations where there were more than 1,000 voters.

    "So it does look like the two bodies have some disagreement ... they will meet tomorrow to discuss how to carry out that recount, and it looks like its going to be a stormy meeting."

    Bays said that "No one knows how its going to be resolved" and that the discussion between the IEC and Election Complaints Commission, the role of the international community, and the say of various candidates "will be crucial".

    The IEC had intended to release full preliminary results 10 days ago.

    If no one receives more than 50 per cent of the final count, the two candidates with the highest vote share will go into a run off poll.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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