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Afghan finance minister says Karzai wins election

Afghanistan's finance minister claimed victory on Monday for President Hamid Karzai in last week's presidential election but, with no official figures released, the claim was rejected by his main rival's campaign.
/ Source: Reuters

Afghanistan's finance minister claimed victory on Monday for President Hamid Karzai in last week's presidential election but, with no official figures released, the claim was rejected by his main rival's campaign.

Electoral authorities have so far published no results and have urged the candidates not to make claims until the figures are vetted and released. Partial figures are due to be released by election officials on Tuesday.

Speaking to reporters over dinner in Kabul, Finance Minister Hazrat Omar Zakhilwal said the president's vote included support across the country, including in the north. Zakhilwal said this made the result impervious to a challenge of fraud.

Zakhilwal did not make clear where the figures came from but said they had been made available to him as a member of the government. They were based on a tally of about 4.5 million votes counted so far, out of a total of about 5 million votes cast, he said.

Karzai had received about 68 percent, or more than 3 million, while his main opponent, former foreign minister Abdullah Abdullah, had received more than 1 million.

"We can say: 'You can leave out Kandahar, you can leave out Uruzgan, you can leave out Zabul'," he said, referring to provinces in the south where voter turnout was low after threats of Taliban violence and where widespread fraud has been alleged.

"Still the president has got more than 50.1 percent," Zakhilwal said.

Former planning minister Ramazan Bashardost had received 3-4 percent and other candidates had only marginal totals, he said.

Asked about Zakhilwal's figures, Abdullah's spokesman Fazl Sangcharaki said: "It is not true. We should wait until the election commission's results."

(For more Reuters coverage of Afghanistan and Pakistan, see: http://www.reuters.com/news/globalcoverage/afghanistanpakistan)