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Karzai Leads In Early Afghan Election Results

15 October 2004 -- Early results show Transitional Administration Chairman Hamid Karzai far ahead of his chief rivals in Afghanistan's presidential election, but the vote count now is suspended for a day for the beginning of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.

The official election website shows that of nearly 26,000 votes counted in five provinces, the incumbent won 15,098, or 59 percent.

Former Education Minister Yunos Qanuni, who was expected to be Karzai's closest challenger, was running at 17 percent, ahead of ethnic Uzbek warlord Abdul Rashid Dostum with 13 percent.

The tally, however, is only a tiny fraction of the estimated 8 million votes. Counting began yesterday after five days of delays due to complaints of electoral irregularities.

Final results are due at the end of October.


[For more on the Afghan elections, see RFE/RL and Radio Free Afghanistan's dedicated "Afghanistan Votes 2004-05" webpage.]