Mohammad Ashraf Ghani tops Afghan presidential elections

Afghan President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani has led the preliminary results of the September presidential election by 50.64 percent, Afghan Independent Election Commission (IEC) announced on Sunday.

Announcing the long-awaited results, Chairperson of IEC Hawa Alam Nuristani told reporters that Ghani was followed by presidential hopeful and government's Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah who secured 39.52 percent of the votes, Xinhua news agency reported. Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, leader of Hizb-e-Islami of Afghanistan, has bagged 3.85 percent of the votes.

The remaining 11 candidates had far fewer votes, with the fourth-place candidate winning less than 2 percent. Nuristani said that the candidates and voters can register election outcome-related complaints with Independent Electoral Complaints Commission within three days.

Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani
Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani Reuters

Fourteen out of the 18 registered hopefuls contested for the presidency with a five-year term in the polls held on September 28. The preliminary results were supposed to be announced on October 19, but they were delayed following audit and recount of votes amid reports of irregularities.

Tadamichi Yamamoto, the UN Secretary-General's Special Representative for Afghanistan, said, "Now, all Afghan authorities and actors must demonstrate their commitment to safeguard and complete the election, and to protect the integrity of the final stage of the process," Tolo News reported.

Meanwhile, Nuristani did not say when the final results will be revealed. Under Afghan law, final results cannot be announced until serious complaints are adjudicated.