US urges review of Afghan vote

WASHINGTON (AP) — The United States is warning that the preliminary election results that were released today in Afghanistan “are not final or authoritative.”

The results show former finance minister Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai (ahsh-RAHF’ gah-NEE’ ah-mahd-ZEYE’) with a clear lead in the race for the presidency. But Afghan officials say they can’t declare a winner because millions of ballots are being audited for fraud.

Rival candidate Abdullah Abdullah has refused to accept any results until all fraudulent ballots are invalidated. A spokesman for his campaign rejected the results, and said the decision to release them amounted to a “coup.”

The State Department is calling for a “full and thorough review” of alleged irregularities, to make sure Afghans are confident in the integrity of the electoral process. Spokeswoman Jen Psaki (SAH’-kee) said “serious allegations of fraud” haven’t yet been adequately investigated.

Final results are due in two weeks. The fraud allegations are undermining what the U.S. and its allies had hoped would be the country’s first democratic transfer of authority.

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184-a-08-(Jen Psaki (SAH’-kee), spokeswoman, State Department, at media briefing)-“the final outcome”-State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki says it’s too early to comment on the results of the presidential election in Afghanistan. (7 Jul 2014)

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185-a-13-(Jen Psaki (SAH’-kee), spokeswoman, State Department, at media briefing)-“the electoral process”-State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki says serious allegations of fraud in the Afghan presidential elections need to be fully investigated. (7 Jul 2014)

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APPHOTO MAH102: Scores of supporters of Afghan presidential candidate and former finance minister Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai celebrate in Kabul, Afghanistan, Monday, July 7, 2014. Afghan officials released preliminary election results Monday showing Ahmadzai well in the lead for the presidency but said no winner can be declared because millions of ballots were being audited for 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. (AP Photo/Massoud Hossaini) (7 Jul 2014)

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