According to results announced today by the Karzai-appointed Independent Election Commission (IEC), President Karzai won 54.6% of the votes in the August re-election bid, while his chief rival, former Foreign Minister Abdulalh Abdullah got only 28%.
But Karzai’s ability to claim an actual victory has been put on hold more or less indefinitely by reports of widespread fraud and voter intimidation on his behalf. Election monitors say one third of Karzai’s votes, and 1.5 million votes overall, are suspect and need to be more carefully scrutinized.
The UN-backed Election Complaints Commission (ECC) has ordered complete recounts of over 10% of the polling stations, which would mean at least one in every seven ballots cast.
Though Karzai will likely maintain a lead throughout the recount, he will need to keep at least 50% of the overall votes cast to avoid a run-off with Abdullah, no guarantee considering that the vast, vast majority of the suspect ballots are Karzai votes.
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