KABUL (Reuters/AFP) - Afghan President Hamid Karzai said on Thursday he Areports of fraud in the countrys presidential election had been exaggerated and he firmly believed in the integrity of the process. Complete preliminary results released on Wednesday showed Karzai winning the Aug. 20 election in a single round with more than 54 percent of the vote. The European Union however said more than a third of his votes might be suspect because of fraud. The result is not final until a U.N.-backed Electoral Complaints Commission finishes a complaints process, including a recount of about 10 percent of polling stations, after finding what it called clear and convincing evidence of fraud. Karzai defended elections and urged foreign allies not to meddle over inquiries into mass fraud allegations that could slash his clear lead. Media has reported major fraud. It wasnt that big. If there was fraud, it was small-it happens all over the world, Karzai told a news conference at his heavily fortified palace in the Afghan capital. Karzai did not declare a final victory, saying the complaints process must still run its course, but he played down suggestions that fraud could have taken place on a big enough scale to overturn the outcome and force a second round run-off. I believe firmly, firmly in the integrity of the election and the integrity of the Afghan people, and the integrity of the government in that process, Karzai told a media conference. Karzai appeared at the media conference, his first since election day, with his two vice presidential nominees seated prominently to the left of his podium. A disputed election result would prove difficult for U.S. President Barack Obama, who is considering deploying more troops and who set out broad goals on Wednesday for boosting the ability of Afghanistan and Pakistan to fight militancy. The head of a European Union observer mission said on Wednesday as many as 1.5 million votes-including 1.1 million for Karzai-were suspicious. Karzais campaign has called the EUs claims irresponsible but he backed fraud investigations. Fraud, if it were conducted, it has to be investigated, and investigated fairly, and without prejudice, Karzai said. We are hopeful that our foreign friends respect the votes of Afghanistans people and allow the Independent Election Commission and the complaints commission to carry out their work with peace of mind and without interference, so we can announce the final results to the people of Afghanistan, he said. Karzais main challenger, former foreign minister Abdullah Abdullah, won about 29 percent of the vote.