KABUL, April 24 (Xinhua) -- Abdullah Abdullah is leading other Afghan presidential candidates as over 80 percent of votes have been counted, chairman of election commission Mohammad Yusuf Nuristani told a press conference here Thursday.
"Altogether 5 million and 857,442 votes have been counted so far and Abdullah has obtained 43.8 percent, while Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai ranked second with 32.9 percent and Zalmai Rassoul secured the third position with 11.1 percent of the votes," Nuristani said.
More than 7 million out of some 12 million eligible voters had cast ballots in April 5 presidential election amid Taliban threat of violence and tight security.
Eight politicians had joined the presidential race to succeed outgoing president Hamid Karzai, who has ruled Afghanistan since the Taliban regime was ousted in late 2001.
To secure victory, a candidate must win more than 50 percent of valid ballots. Otherwise, the top two candidates will go into a runoff.
"Still some 17.5 percent of the votes have remained uncounted and after the counting is finished we will announce the result on Saturday," Nuristani added.
The final official result of the election will be announced on May 14 after examination of all complaints registered with the election complaints commission.