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Afghanistan delays release of election results until July 7

Election commission auditing 12 percent of country’s polling stations

An Afghan election official said Wednesday that the preliminary results of the presidential election will be announced next week, on July 7.

Independent Election Commission Chairman Ahmad Yousuf Nouristani said the results, which had been originally set for release today, had been delayed so that the commission could audit polling stations where candidates had alleged fraud.

Nouristani said in a press conference that of the 23,000 polling stations in 30 different provinces used in the June 14 vote, 1,930 are being audited.

Presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah has said that he would reject the election result due to the alleged fraud, a stance that has thrown the country's first democratic transfer of power into turmoil.

Nouristani said the five-day delay will be enough time to guarantee the transparency of the process.

Abdullah took on Ashraf Ghani in the June run-off vote after the two came first and second in an eight-man election on April 5, when Abdullah was ahead with 45 per cent of the vote against Ghani's 31.6 per cent.

"From now onwards, since [the election authorities] have not responded to our legitimate demands ... everything they do and the result of their activities will not be accepted by us," Abdullah said on June 20.

Wire services.

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