KABUL: Preliminary results from Afghanistan’s presidential election, due to be announced yesterday have been delayed, the head of the election commission said, amid accusations of fraud that threaten to split the fragile country along ethnic lines.
Votes from around 2,000 polling stations in the June 14 run-off are to be reviewed and recounted, Ahmad Yousuf Nuristani, chairman of the Independent Election Commission (IEC) said.
The contest pitted former foreign minister Abdullah Abdullah against former World Bank economist Ashraf Ghani.
“Due to the review and recounting of votes from 1,930 polling stations in 30 provinces, the election commission has delayed the announcement of the preliminary result till next Monday to further assure transparency,” Nuristani said.
US envoy to Afghanistan quits
WASHINGTON: The US special envoy to Afghanistan is stepping down, Secretary of State John Kerry announced yesterday in a move which comes at a key juncture in troubled US-Afghan ties.
James Dobbins, a veteran diplomat with deep ties to Afghanistan, is retiring after just over a year in office and will be replaced by his deputy Dan Feldman, Kerry said in a statement.
The shuffle comes as the two candidates to be Afghanistan’s next president -- succeeding Hamid Karzai who has held the reins for 13 years -- wrangle over alleged fraud in the elections.
The political crisis threatens the country’s first democratic transfer of power, and tarnishes US hopes of a smooth handover as it prepares to withdraw all US forces by late 2016.