By Shadi Khan Saif
KABUL, Afghanistan (AA) - The election commission in Afghanistan on Saturday sought apology from the public over persistent delay in announcement of the presidential election results.
The head of the country's Independent Election Commission, Hava Alam Nuristani, told a press conference in the evening that technical glitches and careful efforts to ensure transparency are behind the delay. ''The election commission seeks apology from the people of Afghanistan and parties involved in the elections over delay in announcement of the preliminary results'', she said.
The incumbent President Ashraf Ghani, frontrunner in the elections, welcomed the move. “The Afghan people yearn to hear about the results of the presidential elections, but we respect the Independent Election Commission’s decision to postpone announcing the results to ensure fairness, transparency and accountability of the final vote,” Ghani tweeted.
Under the Constitution, a presidential candidate needs more than 50% of the votes to be declared the winner. If no candidate wins the simple majority, a second and final round between the top two candidates of the first round will be held on Nov. 23.
The top election body was supposed to announce the preliminary results on Oct. 19 while the final results of the election -- where a total of 13 candidates are running for the top seat -- will be announced on Nov. 7.
Among the front-running candidates are the incumbent president Mohammad Ashraf Ghani and his power-sharing chief executive Abdullah Abdullah and former Mujahideen leader Gulbuddin Hekmatyar.
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Afghan presidential polls preliminary results delayed
By Shadi Khan Saif