Afghanistan President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani won a second term with 50.6 per cent of the preliminary vote count, but his opponents can still challenge the result, according to an announcement Sunday by the country’s election commission.

Ashraf Ghani received 50.64 per cent of the vote, said Hawa Alam Nuristani, head of the Independent Election Commission, at a press conference in the capital, Kabul.

Ghani appears to have beaten out his main challenger Abdullah Abdullah, who serves as the country’s chief executive in a fragile national unity government.

Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, leader of Hizb-e-Islami of Afghanistan, has bagged 3.85 per cent of the votes.

The remaining 11 candidates had far fewer votes, with the fourth-place candidate winning less than 2 per cent.

Nuristani said that the candidates and voters can register election outcome-related complaints with Independent Electoral Complaints Commission within three days.

Tadamichi Yamamoto, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan, said, “Now, all Afghan authorities and actors must demonstrate their commitment to safeguard and complete the election, and to protect the integrity of the final stage of the process,” Tolo News reported.

Earlier this month, Abdullah agreed to allow a ballot recount in provinces where his supporters had stopped the process for over a month.

In November, thousands of Abdullah’s supporters rallied in the capital against what they say is the presence of faked ballots amid a controversial recount that seemed set to favour Ghani.

(With inputs from agency)