KABUL, AFGHANISTAN -- Afghan President Ashraf Ghani appears to have narrowly won a second term, according to preliminary results from September's balloting that were announced Sunday, although his main challenger rejected the outcome as illegitimate.
If the outcome stands despite the complaints of ballot fraud, it could give Ghani the authority he has sought to demand a leading role in peace talks with the Taliban in the country devastated by decades of war.
In a nationally televised address from the presidential palace later in the day, Ghani claimed victory over his main rival, Abdullah Abdullah, who serves as Afghanistan’s chief executive in a fragile national unity government.
“We will connect and unite all Afghans,” Ghani said. “We will end the crisis and all divisions by building a responsible government.”