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Karzai Looks Set To Win Afghan Presidency

Karzai appears on his way to a five-year term as Afghan president (file photo) 25 October 2004 -- With nearly all the votes counted, Afghan Transitional Administration Chairman Hamid Karzai appears on his way to an outright victory in the initial round of Afghanistan's first-ever direct presidential election.

With more than 94 percent of ballots counted and the official tally showing Karzai winning more than 55 percent, Karzai's main rival, former Education Minister Mohammad Yunos Qanuni, conceded defeat yesterday.

Qanuni's spokesman Sayyed Hamid Nuri said the Qanuni campaign does not want a fresh crisis and will respect the results.

However, the spokesman said Qanuni, who reportedly has about 16 percent of the vote, still wants allegations of irregularities in the 9 October poll probed by international experts.

Electoral officials said the final outcome of the election will not be released until the vote count is finished and investigations of alleged irregularities are completed.