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Abdullah leading Afghanistan poll

Preliminary results in Afghanistan's presidential election show former foreign minister Abdullah Abdullah won the most votes but not the majority needed to avoid a run-off.

The chairman of the Independent Election Commission, Ahmad Yousuf Nouristani, said today that Mr Abdullah had 44.9% of the vote and ex-finance minister Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai came in second with 31.5%.

The preliminary results are due to be finalised on May 14 after investigations into fraud complaints.

Electoral law requires a run-off between the top two candidates if no one candidate gets a majority. A run-off should be held within 15 days of final results.

The candidates are vying to replace President Hamid Karzai, the only president Afghans have known since the US-led invasion to topple the Taliban's hard-line Islamic regime.

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