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Voting concludes in Afghan presidential runoff polls

Posted on Jun 14 2014 | IANS

Kabul, June 14 : Polling in Afghanistan's presidential runoff election concluded Saturday evening and counting of ballots has begun, an official said.

"The polling, which began 7 a.m. Saturday has ended at 4 p.m.," Xinhua quoted Independent Election Commission (IEC) commissioner Sareer Ahmad Barmak as saying Saturday.

The Afghan election officials said that the election was relatively peaceful, barring some attacks and complaints.

The officials said the IEC has taken note of allegations of fraud and all those allegations are being looked into.

The runoff election will decide whether former foreign minister Abdullah Abdullah or former World Bank economist Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai leads the country into a new era with declining international military and civilian assistance.

The two entered a runoff after none of the eight candidates obtained an outright victory or more than half of the valid votes in the first round held April 5.

The Taliban insurgent group fighting the government has vowed to disrupt the election process.

They launched more than 150 attacks on polling centres Saturday.

At least 10 people, including several security forces, were killed and nearly 100 others were wounded in Taliban attacks Saturday, the Public Health Minister Suraya Dalil said.

According to the final results of the April 5 election, Abdullah secured 45 percent of some 7 million votes, and Ahmadzai won 31.6 percent.

Afghans began voting earlier Saturday to elect a new president for the next five years in the first transfer of power through polling in the country's history.

The number of turnout for Saturday's polls remained unknown so far as voting concluded across 6,365 polling centres and 23,136 stations for the voting.

The preliminary results of the runoff will be clear July 2 while the final result of the polls will be announced July 22.

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