Ghani leads Abdullah in Afghan election, officials say

Ashraf Ghani might be on the verge of a comeback in his bid for the Afghan presidency, a preliminary count of last month's runoff election shows.

The former Afghan finance minister leads former Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah in the June runoff -- a reversal of where the two stood in the April general election -- according to preliminary results released Monday by election officials.

Ghani -- a former U.S. citizen who gave up his passport to run for the Afghan presidency in 2009 elections -- now has 56.44% of the runoff vote, while Abdullah has 43.56%, Afghanistan's Independent Elections Commission said, citing preliminary results.

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The commission stressed the final result would be announced July 22, and that the preliminary results aren't necessarily indicative of the outcome.

In April's election, Abdullah secured 45% of the vote and Ghani was second with 31.6%. A runoff was required because no one had more than 50%.

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