Afghanistan’s incumbent President Ashraf Ghani has won a small majority after long-delayed preliminary results from September’s election were announced on Sunday.

Mr Ghani gained 50.64 per cent of the vote with 923,868 votes while Afghanistan’s Chief Executive, and Mr Ghani’s main rival, Abdullah Abdullah polled second with 720,990 votes or 39.52 per cent. He immediately vowed to challenge the tally.

The Independent Election Commission (IEC) announced the preliminary results almost three months after Afghans voted in presidential polls that were marred by low turnout and fraud claims.

Only 1.82 million eligible ballots were cast out of 9.6 million registered voters, the country’s lowest election turnout ever. Nearly one million of the initial 2.7 million votes were purged due to irregularities with biometric vote recording systems and ballots cast outside of official voting hours.

The IEC did not say when the final results would be released, but candidates have three days to file any complaints before final results are announced.

Deputy Spokesperson of the IEC Zabiullah Sadaat said this process could take between 37 and 39 days.

There won’t be any decision on whether a second round of voting is needed until the final results are out and Mr Ghani’s lead is secure.

Read full report on The National