Karzai leads in Afghan poll returns


Afghan President Hamid Karzai leads his main challenger in partial election returns by 48.6 per cent to 31.7 per cent, with nearly three quarters of polling stations tallied, according to figures released today.

Election commission member Daoud Najafi said the commission had anulled results from 447 of about 28,000 polling stations after investigating fraud. The commission released a statement saying it had anulled the results of 477 stations.

The country has been in a state of political limbo since the August 20th election, with results held up by a flood of complaints from Mr Karzai's main rival, Abdullah Abdullah, accusing the authorities of widespread fraud.

The results show Mr Karzai falling just short of the outright majority needed to avoid a second round

However, many of the still uncounted ballots are from the south, where returns so far have shown Mr Karzai with a strong lead, but also where most of Mr Abdullah's fraud allegations originate.