KABUL, May 3 (Xinhua) -- Afghan presidential candidate Gul Agha Sherzai on Saturday joined the leading runner Dr. Abdullah Abdullah as the country is preparing for a possible runoff.
"I declare full support for the team of Dr. Abdullah. The decision was taken by our team for the national interest of the country. For national unity. We joined hands to bring security, to bring good governance in Afghanistan," Sherzai told a meeting attended by Abdullah and several politicians here.
The third presidential election since the fall of the Taliban regime in late 2001 was held on April 5. Eight candidates were contesting to secure the country's top slot and replace the incumbent President Hamid Karzai.
On April 26, the Afghan Independent Election Commission (IEC) announced the preliminary results, with Dr. Abdullah in the lead with 44.9 percent of the votes, followed by Dr. Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai who obtained 31.5 percent and Dr. Zalmai Rassoul who won 11.5 percent.
After announcement, election officials said that the process will go to a runoff polls. Sherzai secured 1.6 percent of the votes.
Abdullah thanked and welcomed Sherzai for joining to his team.
To secure an outright victory, a candidate must win more than 50 percent of valid ballots. Otherwise, the top two candidates will go into a runoff. According to the election timetable, if the runoff is needed, it will take place on May 28. However, the election officials said the runoff vote may take place on June 7.
"We are working together. We will solve all the current issues of the country. We will jointly work towards a better and peaceful Afghanistan," said former Foreign Minister Abdullah at the same event.
"If we win the elections, important decisions on the country's dealings will be made in thorough consultation with our allies and people," he said.
Both candidates expressed sorrow and offered their heartfelt condolences over Friday's deadly landslide in northern Badakhshan province which claimed the lives of hundreds and left thousands missing.