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Afghanistan - Elections

Vote-counting ends, Karzai and Abdullah claim victory

Article published on the 2009-08-21 Latest update 2009-08-21 12:44 TU

Ballots sorted at a polling centre in Kabul, 21 August, 2009.(Photo: Reuters/Ahmad Masood)

Ballots sorted at a polling centre in Kabul, 21 August, 2009.
(Photo: Reuters/Ahmad Masood)

The Afghan President Hamid Karzai has declared himself the clear winner in Thursday's elections, but his main rival Abdullah Abdullah disputes the claim, and has lodged complaints. The Independent Election Commission has finished counting ballots and partial results are due later Friday.

Based on results from their own observers, Karzai's campaign chief, Din Mohammed, said that the incumbent had garnered enough votes to win outright and that a run-off could be averted.

The main challenger to Hamid Karzai, Abdullah Abdullah has filed apparently 40 complaints, says Tony Cross, RFI's reporter in Kabul. Other candidates, Ramazan Barshardost and Ashraf Ghani have also made complaints both about Karzai's people and about Abdullah's people trying to influence voters.

The United States and other Western countries have praised the election, even though turnout was reported as being low - between 40 and 50 per cent - and in spite of the claims of vote-rigging.

Although there were incidents of violence in different parts of the country, there were less than feared, after Taliban threats to disrupt voting.

Afghans were voting on Thursday to elect a new president and 34 provincial councils.