Afghan presidential front-runner blocks vote recount

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Kabul , Nov 11 . ( BNA ) :  - A major candidate in the Afghan presidential election is blocking a vote recount in several provinces, days before an official announcement of the preliminary results from September's election is due.

 

Followers of Abdullah Abdullah, the incumbent Afghan chief executive who is a presidential hopeful, have alleged voter fraud and blocked recounts by officials in Parwan, Takhar, Panjsher, Badakhshan and Herat provinces , The Deutsch Press Agency (dpa) reported.

 

The Independent Election Commission (IEC) provincial chief for Parwan, Abdul Qahir Safi, told dpa that Abdullah's supporters carried weapons and threatened to burn down the election office if they started the recount.

 

Safi said the staff sealed the premise and asked for police assistance.

 

Abdullah campaign chief Basir Ferozi said civil protests will continue and expand throughout the country in coming days but said followers of the team have not and will not use force.

 

Abdullah said on Sunday that his observers will not take part in the recount unless the IEC first clarifies and separates around 300,000 potentially fraudulent votes.

 

Abdullah team members are said to believe that the majority of those votes favour Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, who ran for a second five-year term.

 

The IEC said it had ordered the recount to start across the country on Saturday.

 

Abdullah said his team is ready for discussions in the presence of observers and the media.

 

The country's presidential election was held on September 28.

 

Preliminary results were initially scheduled to be announced on October 19 but later postponed until this Thursday

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Abdullah and Ghani are seen as the front-runners.

 

Both teams said after the election that they were convinced of their victory.

Observers fear a disputed election result might trigger a new political crisis that could lead to violence.