Preliminary vote tallies show Abdullah Abdullah losing Afghanistan's presidential election to Ashraf Ghani by a pretty wide margin of 56.4% to 43.5%. But Abdullah declared victory anyway yesterday, and said he would decide in the next few days whether to form a "parallel government" competing with Ghani's—which brought jeers from a crowd that wanted him to form that government right away, the Wall Street Journal reports. Many Abdullah allies are also calling for it, after a count that he and his supporters say was marred by fraud. The governor of Balkh province even declared yesterday that he would only recognize an Abdullah-led government.
"We are proud, we respect the votes of the people, we were the winner," Abdullah told a rally of thousands, according to the AFP. "We will not accept a fraudulent result, not today, not tomorrow, never." The US is worried the crisis could divide the country and lead to civil war. President Obama called Abdullah yesterday to urge him to wait for an official fraud investigation, while John Kerry warned that "any action to take power by extra-legal means will cost Afghanistan the financial and security support of the United States." Ghani delivered what the New York Times calls a "somber" speech yesterday saying he'd agree to an audit of 7,100 polling places. "This country is a unified nation," he said, "and it is enthusiastic about a single government, not a parallel one."