KABUL (AFP) - President Hamid Karzai moved into a clear lead in controversial Afghan elections, taking 54.1 per cent of the vote, the first time he has passed the 50 per cent needed to avoid a run-off, according to partial results announced Tuesday. Figures released by Afghanistans Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) put Karzais nearest rival, Abdullah Abdullah, well behind in the count so far with 28.3 per cent. The IEC announced 91.6 per cent of all votes cast in the August 20 elections, which have been overshadowed by allegations of widespread fraud. Of 5,469,289 valid votes, Karzai had 2,959,093 against Abdullahs 1,546,490, the IEC announced at a media conference. Karzai needs to take 50 per cent of total votes cast, plus one vote, to be declared the winner. A source at the IEC, who asked not to be named, said preliminary results from 100 per cent of votes cast across the country would be announced Thursday. Final official results are not due before September 17. Fraud has become the watchword of the Afghan election process, with allegations swirling - from Abdullahs camp and elsewhere - that Karzais supporters stuffed ballot boxes in his favour. Afghanistans Electoral Complaints Commission (ECC) said Tuesday it had found clear and convincing evidence of electoral fraud and had ordered some ballots to be recounted. Most of the evidence involved a high number of presidential votes cast at particular polling stations, or a high number cast in favour of one candidate, the ECC said, adding that most of the polling stations where fraud was found also had more ballots cast than expected, given low overall turnout. A Taliban campaign of intimidation and violence appears to have been successful in keeping voters away on polling day, with turnout likely to be just 30-35 per cent. That low figure has already threatened to cast doubt on the credibility of the process and the legitimacy of the winner.