KABUL, Afghanistan — Former finance minister Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai has the lead in Afghanistan's disputed presidential election, according to a preliminary tally released Monday despite allegations of fraud.
The announcement came as Ahmadzai is locked in a standoff with his rival Abdullah Abdullah, who has refused to accept any results until all fraudulent ballots are invalidated.
The Independent Election Commission acknowledged that vote rigging had occurred and promised to launch a more extensive investigation before final results are released.
"We cannot ignore that there were technical problems and fraud that took place during the election process," the commission's chairman Ahmad Yousuf Nouristani said. "We are not denying fraud in the election, some governors and Afghan government officials were involved in fraud."
The results showed that Ghani had about 4.5 million votes while Abdullah had 3.5 million votes, Nouristani said.
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