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High turnout for Afghanistan landmark election

High turnout for Afghanistan landmark election
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Seven million people turned out to vote in Afghanistan’s landmark presidential election. That’s about 58 percent of the electorate.

Saturday’s vote will bring the first democratic transfer of power in a country plagued by decades of conflict.

The Afghan constitution prevents President Hamid Karzai from serving another term. But, after 12 years in power, he is widely expected to retain influence through politicians loyal to him.

Former foreign ministers Abdullah Abdullah and Zalmay Rassoul, and former finance minister Ashraf Ghani were regarded as the favourites to succeed Karzai.

It will take six weeks to count the votes. That’s because of the country’s rugged terrain.

If there is no outright winner, the front-runners would go into a run-off at the end of May. That would extend the process into the holy month of Ramadan.

euronews correspondent Mustapha Bag reported: “In Afghanistan, presidential election voting time has ended and ballot boxes have been closed. Now the real marathon starts because people’s biggest concern is possible fraud.”