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Karzai Leads In Partial Afghan Vote Returns

Afghan President Hamid Karzai

Afghan President Hamid Karzai

KABUL (Reuters) -- Afghan President Hamid Karzai leads his main challenger in partial election returns by 48.6 percent to 31.7 percent, with nearly three quarters of polling stations tallied, according to figures released on September 6.

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 20 election, with results held up by a flood of complaints from challenger Abdullah Abdullah accusing the authorities of widespread fraud.

The results show 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 Karzai with a strong lead, but also where most of Abdullah's fraud allegations originate.