No candidate secures more than 50% of votes
Abdullah Abdullah will face Ashraf Ghani in a runoff next month
The result of the first round had to be finalized after a fraud investigation
Afghans have finished casting their ballots to pick a president in a runoff election between former Cabinet ministers.
Saturday’s runoff between former Foreign Affairs Minister Abdullah Abdullah and former Finance Minister Ashraf Ghani went on despite incidents of violence: Afghan Deputy Interior Minister Gen. Mohammad Ayoub Salangi said 10 Afghan soldiers, 14 civilians and 19 insurgents were killed in a day that saw nearly 150 attacks throughout the country. Salangi said more than 60 Afghan troops and 41 civilians were injured in those attacks, as were 10 insurgents.
In the first-round, in which around 7 millions Afghans voted on April 5, Abdullah secured 45% of the vote, while Ghani got 31.6%. A candidate needs to receive more than 50% of the votes to win the first round and avoid a runoff.
Preliminary results had been announced in late April, but had to be finalized after investigations into fraud complaints.
The final results from the runoff will be announced on July 22, the election commission said.
It’s the third election since the fall of the Taliban in 2001, and is set to be the first democratic transfer of power in the fragile, war-torn country.
Abdullah was a vocal critic of the Taliban during their years in power. Although he was once an ally of Karzai, serving in his government as foreign minister, he has in recent years become an opponent.
He challenged Karzai in the 2009 election but dropped out after the first round to protest what he said was large-scale voting fraud.
Ghani is a former academic and U.S. citizen who gave up his passport to run for the Afghan presidency in 2009. He worked as an adviser to Karzai and as finance minister in his Cabinet.
CNN’s Masoud Popalzai reported from Kabul, and Jethro Mullen wrote from Hong Kong.