Afghan election commission delays release of full results to allow recounts, audits

Afghanistan's election commission has delayed a planned release of full results from the April 5 presidential election to allow for recounts and audits.

Wednesday's announcement increases confusion surrounding the balloting to replace President Hamid Karzai, who is ineligible for a third term.

The results were expected on Thursday but Independent Election Commission director Ziaulhaq Amarkhil says they would be postponed until at least Saturday to ensure they are not tainted by fraud. The preliminary results then must be investigated by a separate commission before being finalized by May 14.

So far, partial results of about half the 7 million votes cast show former foreign minister Abdullah Abdullah in the lead and ex-finance minister Asraf Ghani Ahmadzai in second.

It's unclear if either would secure a majority to avoid a runoff.