Karzai keeps big lead in new Afghan vote results

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The Independent Online

Afghanistan's election commission says President Hamid Karzai still has a big lead with ballots now counted from almost half the country's voting stations.

In the latest results released Monday, Karzai has 45.8 percent of votes counted, while top challenger Abdullah Abdullah has 33.2 percent.

Karzai will need 50 percent of the votes to avoid a two-man runoff.

The commission is slowly releasing partial results from the Aug. 20 presidential election, which was marred by hundreds of allegations of fraud and intimidation.

The returns announced Monday are based on votes from 48 percent of the country's voting stations.

Results are not expected to be finalized until mid- or late September, after officials work through the fraud allegations.