Abdullah Tops Afghan Presidential Vote's First Count, But Runoff Coming

Image: AFGHANISTAN-ELECTION-CANDIDATES-FILES
Afghan Presidential candidates, from left, Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai and Abdullah AbdullahAFP - Getty Images file

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/ Source: Associated Press

KABUL, Afghanistan — Preliminary results in Afghanistan's presidential election show former Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah won the most votes but not the majority needed to avoid a runoff.

The chairman of the Independent Election Commission, Ahmad Yousuf Nouristani, said Saturday that Abdullah had 44.9 percent of the vote and ex-Finance Minister Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai came in second with 31.5 percent. The preliminary results are due to be finalized on May 14 after investigations into fraud complaints.

Electoral law requires a runoff between the top two candidates if no one candidate gets a majority. A runoff should be held within 15 days of final results.

The candidates are vying to replace President Hamid Karzai, the only president Afghans have known since the U.S.-led invasion to topple the Taliban's hard-line Islamic regime.

Afghan Presidential candidates, from left, Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai and Abdullah AbdullahAFP - Getty Images file

— The Associated Press