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Karzai leads in Afghan leadership race as complaints surge

  • Story Highlights
  • Grievances include claims of polling irregularities, voter intimidation, ballot stuffing.
  • Karzai has, so far, raked in slightly more than 45 percent of the vote
  • Chief rival, Abdullah Abdullah, has 33.2 percent as counting continues
  • A candidate must get over 50 percent of the vote to avoid a run-off
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KABUL, Afghanistan (CNN) -- Incumbent Afghan President Hamid Karzai was still in the lead over his top two rivals Monday, a day after election officials said voter complaints had surged in the last three days.

Vote tallies indicate Afghan President Hamid Karzai has taken the lead after  August 20 election.

Vote tallies indicate Afghan President Hamid Karzai has taken the lead after August 20 election.

Karzai has, so far, raked in slightly more than 45 percent of the vote, according to the country's Independent Election Commission.

Abdullah Abdullah had 33.2 percent of the more than 2.8 million votes cast, and Ramazan Bashardost came in third with 12.5 percent of the vote, the commission reported. The percentages reflect only 47.8 percent of polling stations tallied after the August 20 elections.

A candidate must get over 50 percent of the vote to avoid a run-off. If no candidate wins an absolute majority, there will be a run-off between the top two contenders -- most likely in mid-October.

But election complaints could hold up the official results.

On Sunday, Afghan election officials said they deemed 567 of 2,493 election complaints serious enough to affect the outcome of the race.

Overall complaints had increased from the 1,740 complaints reported last Thursday.

The grievances include allegations of polling irregularities, voter intimidation and ballot stuffing.

The Electoral Complaints Commission said that in order for the results of the vote to be certified, it must resolve the complaints it has received.

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Abdullah has accused Karzai of rigging the elections in his favor. Six other presidential candidates did not point any fingers at Karzai, but they did call for an investigation into "widespread fraud and intimidation" that they said could cast doubt on the legitimacy of the vote.

For his part, Karzai's administration has remained tight-lipped on the fraud allegations.

CNN's Atia Abawi contributed to this report.

All About Hamid KarzaiAbdullah AbdullahAfghanistan

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