Election official: Karzai clear winner as counting concludes in Afghan presidential vote
BY STEPHEN GRAHAM Associated Press Writer
Tuesday, October 26, 2004
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) -- Counting in Afghanistan's
presidential election concluded Tuesday, with U.S.-backed
interim leader Hamid Karzai the clear winner, a senior official
Investigators were still examining about 100 ballot boxes to
clear up lingering fraud allegations, but the election's chief
technical officer said the count was effectively "over and
"It's just these last dribs and drabs to be approved," David
Avery told The Associated Press. "It's really nothing that can
affect the outcome."
Election officials have said they will not announce the
official results of the Oct. 9 vote until investigations into
irregularities alleged by Karzai's main rivals have been
concluded. That could be this weekend.
The winner will be inaugurated in about a month.
Final results were not posted on the election Web site,
either. But in an earlier tally based on 97.7 percent of total
votes cast, the U.S.-backed Karzai had 55.4 percent, which was
39 percentage points ahead of his closest challenger, former
Education Minister Yunus Qanooni.
Karzai had to receive more than 50 percent of the votes cast
to avoid a run-off and secure a five-year term. He has pledged
to raise impoverished Afghans' living standards after a
quarter-century of fighting.
Karzai has been the interim leader since the fall of the
Taliban in late 2001 after a U.S. invasion. An election victory
would make him Afghanistan's first popularly chosen leader.
It also could provide a foreign policy boost to
Afghanistan's main sponsor, President Bush, in his own bid for
re-election next week.