Ashraf Ghani edged closer to becoming Afghanistan’s next president after winning a majority of votes in a preliminary count of last month’s election, but officials stopped short of declaring a winner as millions of ballots could still be reviewed for fraud allegations. The country’s election commission said Monday that Mr. Ghani, a former finance minister, had won 56.4% of the vote in a preliminary count, against Mr. Abdullah’s 43.6%. But with his rival Abdullah Abdullah alleging widespread fraud in the June 14 runoff vote, the political crisis over the validity of the election’s results remained unresolved. One of Mr. Abdullah’s most prominent supporters, northern Balkh province’s powerful Gov. Atta Mohammad Noor, called late Monday for “widespread civil unrest” and warned of forming a “parallel government.” That statement drew a swift condemnation from U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, who was speaking at the Yokota Air Base in Japan en route to high-level talks in China.
“There is no justifiable recourse to violence or threats of violence, or for resort to extra-constitutional measures or threats of the same,” Mr. Kerry said.
“Any action to take power by extralegal means will cost Afghanistan the financial and security support of the United States and the international community,” he added.
The official turnout in the Afghan election—8.1 million votes—was significantly higher than experts had predicted. Mr. Abdullah, a former foreign minister, alleged that as many as two million of these ballots were fraudulent.
He has accused the country’s chief electoral officer, Ziaulhaq Amarkhil, of perpetrating the fraud, and released recordings allegedly corroborating his charges. Mr. Amarkhil denied any wrongdoing but resigned following the recordings’ release.