UK & World News

  • 27 April 2014, 2:09

Afghanistan Election Set For Second Round

Afghanistan's presidential election is set for a second round, after preliminary results showed the two front-runners failed to win a majority.

Ex-foreign minister Abdullah Abdullah gained 44.9% of the vote, followed by former finance minister Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai on 31.5%.

Zalmai Rassoul, another former foreign minister, was third with 11.5%, while Abdul Rasoul Sayyaf, a former lawmaker and religious scholar, won 7.1%.

Electoral law requires a run-off between the top two candidates if no one gets a majority.

Mr Abdullah and Mr Ahmadzai are vying to replace President Hamid Karzai, who has been leader since the 2001 US-led invasion toppled the Taliban.

He is barred by the constitution from running for a third term.

Election commission chairman Ahmad Yousuf Nouristan said: "According to our findings it seems that, this election will go to the second round.

"We have a tentative schedule of June 7th to start the second round."

These results are expected to be finalised on May 14 after complaints of fraud are investigated.

However, these investigations are unlikely to invalidate enough votes to change the outcome.

The US and Nato and are expected to withdraw most of their troops from Afghanistan at the end of the year.

Mr Abdullah and Mr Ahmadzai have promised a fresh start with the West and to move ahead with a security pact with the US that Mr Karzai has refused to sign.

This would allow a small number of American soldiers to stay in the country to train the army and police and to fight the Taliban.

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