Afghanistan's election commission has declared that former World Bank economist Ashraf Ghani won last month's run-off presidential election with 56.44 percent of the vote, according to preliminary results.
Afghanistan's Independent Election Commission made the announcement on Monday, adding that Abdullah Abdullah received 43.56 percent of the vote, according to Reuters.
The numbers and outcome still might change, however, when final, official numbers come out on July 22.
Abdullah Abdullah, previously seen as the poll front-runner, has said he would reject the result due to “blatant fraud”, while his poll rival Ashraf Ghani said the election was clean and claimed victory by more than one million votes.
Abdullah, a former anti-Taliban fighter, was not immediately available for comment on Monday.
Abdullah has accused Karzai, also a Pashtun, of playing a role in the alleged rigging in Ghani's favor and says he would accept the vote only if he saw firm evidence that fraudulent votes had been thrown out and the final result was clean.
The United Nations and donor countries have been trying for months to prevent a contested election outcome, fearing political deadlock and ethnic violence as US-led troops withdraw from the country.
But with the two candidates at loggerheads, many fear the impasse could tip Afghanistan into a risky period of street protests and uncertainty.
About 6,000 voting centers were open across Afghanistan on June 14, when voters defied the threat of Taliban attacks to choose between former foreign minister Abdullah and Ghani.
Any tension between supporters could ignite ethnic unrest since Ghani attracts much of his support from the Pashtun tribes of the south and east, while Abdullah's loyalists are Tajiks and other northern Afghan groups.
The UN has expressed its concerns over rising friction and last week called on candidates and their supporters to “refrain from any acts that incite imminent violence, civil disorder or lead to instability.”
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