Disputed Afghan election result to be announced Sunday

The result of Afghanistan's disputed election will be declared tomorrow, officials said today, as last-minute talks between the two rival candidates struggled to nail down a proposed power-sharing deal.

Kabul: The result of Afghanistan's disputed election will be declared tomorrow, officials said today, as last-minute talks between the two rival candidates struggled to nail down a proposed power-sharing deal.

The stalemate between Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah since the June 14 vote has plunged Afghanistan into a political crisis as US-led NATO troops end their 13-year war against the Taliban.

Both men claim to have won the fraud-tainted election, and the United Nations and the United States have pushed hard for a "national unity government" to try to avoid a return to the ethnic divisions of the 1990s civil war.

"The IEC will officially announce the final result of the presidential election tomorrow," Independent Election Commission spokesman Noor Mohammad Noor told AFP.

Mujib Rahman Rahimi, a spokesman for Abdullah, said the two candidates had not yet signed a power-sharing deal.

"Most of the differences have been solved. The only one which remains is over how the election results are announced," he said.

"The IEC is not supposed to announce the final results before the agreement is finalised. I hope they won't do that."

Ghani's campaign team confirmed the deal was still not agreed late today.

The election process has been plagued by delays and setbacks, and the latest timetable for results could still change unless the remaining disputes are ironed out.

Ghani -- who won the vote according to preliminary results -- is set to emerge as president, with Abdullah nominating who will fill the new post of "chief executive officer", possibly taking on the role himself.

Under the Afghan constitution the president wields almost total control, and the new government structure faces a major test in the coming years as the country's security and economic outlook worsens.

President Hamid Karzai, whose successor was originally due to be inaugurated on August 2, was constitutionally barred from standing for a third term in office. He has stayed publicly neutral in the election.

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