Sept. 26, 2009, midnight
Afghanistan's Independent Electoral Commission last Saturday announced preliminary results in 30 of 34 provincial elections held alongside the first-round Presidential vote on August 20. Of 420 total seats, men won 251 and women 106, one seat more than the quarter reserved to them. Turnout was nearly 38 percent, a point higher than that in the Presidential election, and at least four candidates died while campaigning. More than 3,000 candidates ran. United Nations officials meanwhile have dismissed a senior official following his call for a recount of all votes cast in the re-election of President Hamid KARZAI. Following evidence of widespread fraud, the UN-backed Electoral Complaints Commission has examined about one quarter of ballots. Many observers believe the recount will force incumbent President Hamid KARZAI into a second-round runoff against challenger Abdullah ABDULLAH.