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Afghan presidential candidate Sherzai joins front-runner Abdullah
Saturday May 3, 2014 6:43 PM, IANS

Afghan presidential candidate Gul Agha Sherzai Saturday threw in his lot with front-runner Abdullah Abdullah as the country is preparing for a possible run-off.

"I declare full support for the team of Abdullah. The decision was taken by our team for the national interest of the country. We joined hands to bring security, to bring good governance in Afghanistan," Xinhua quoted Sherzai as telling 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 April 5. Eight candidates are contesting to secure the country's top slot and replace incumbent President Hamid Karzai.

On April 26, the Afghan Independent Election Commission (IEC) announced the preliminary results, with Abdullah in the lead with 44.9 percent of the votes, followed by Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai who obtained 31.5 percent and Zalmai Rassoul who won 11.5 percent.

After the announcement, election officials said that the process would go to a run-off polls. Sherzai secured 1.6 percent of the votes.

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 May 28. However, the election officials said the runoff vote might take place June 7.

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