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Monday Sep 30 2019

Top Ghani rival Abdullah claims victory in Afghanistan election


KABUL: Abdullah Abdullah, Afghanistan's chief executive and President Ashraf Ghani's top rival, claimed victory Monday after the first round of voting in the presidential election over the weekend, though official counting is still ongoing.

"We have the most votes in this election," Abdullah said at a news conference.

"The results will be announced by the IEC (Independent Election Commission), but we have the most votes. The election is not going to go to a second round."

Elections were held amid tight security on Saturday in relative calm, though several small attacks, low turnout and complaints about the voting system heightened fears an unclear result could drive the country into further chaos.

Preliminary results are not expected before October 17 and final results not until November 7. If no candidate gets 51 per cent of the vote, a second round will be held between the two leading candidates.

Saturday’s presidential vote is the fourth since the Afghan Taliban was toppled.