Hamid Karzai has been confirmed as victor of Afghanistan's landmark presidential election after investigators concluded that fraud and technical errors were too minor to overturn his triumph.
A formal announcement declaring him the winner of a five-year term as the country's first directly elected leader was expected later today.
But his closest challenger, Yunus Qanooni, has refused to concede defeat.
Afghanistan's UN-sponsored electoral board approved the report by a three-strong panel called in to investigate allegations of cheating, board spokesman Sultan Baheen said.
The US-backed interim leader won 55.4 percent support in the Oct. 9 election, according to results on the official election Web site, 39 points clear of Qanooni and enough to avoid a second round.
The panel was called in after Qanooni and other challengers claimed massive fraud in favor of Karzai.
"There were shortcomings," said Staffan Darnolf, a Swedish member of the panel that examined the vote. "But they could not have materially affected the overall result."
- More about:
- Central Asia
- Hamid Karzai
- Middle East
- Presidential Election
- Property Crime
- United Nations