KABUL: Former World Bank economist Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai won Afghanistan’s presidential election, according to preliminary results released on Monday, with 56.4 per cent of the run-off vote to Abdullah Abdullah’s 43.5 per cent.
Officials said the turnout was more than eight million in the June 14 vote out of an estimated electorate of 13.5 million voters - far higher than expected, and a figure likely to trigger further allegations of fraud from both sides.
“The IEC (Independent Election Commission) admits that despite best efforts for a better election, there were some technical mistakes and shortcomings in the process,” IEC head Ahmad Yusuf Nuristani told reporters. “We cannot deny fraud and violations in the process, in some cases some security forces were involved, in other cases senior government officials like the governors or lower-level officials were involved.”
Last-minute talks delayed the release of the results by nearly five hours on Monday, as the two campaigns tried to thrash out a deal over fraud allegations that threaten to fuel instability.
Abdullah has vowed to reject the preliminary result, alleging he was the victim of “industrial-scale” ballot-box stuffing, while Ghani has said he won fairly. Central to the talks is how many of the total 23,000 polling stations will now be put through an anti-fraud audit.
“We agreed for an audit of 7,000 polling stations, but they had other conditions that we couldn’t agree with, so for now there is only partial agreement,” Ghani’s spokesman Daud Sultanzoy told AFP before the result.
Abdullah’s spokesman Fazel Sancharaki said, “Our main demand was for the inspection of 11,000 polling stations under the close supervision of the United Nations. 7,000 polling stations is not enough. The negotiations are still ongoing. If they produce a result, we will enter the process, otherwise... we will not recognise it.”
Both sides said the UN was involved in the talks, but its spokesman declined to give further details.
Following the preliminary result on Monday, the official result is scheduled for July 24 after a period for the audit and adjudication of complaints.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 8th, 2014.
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@Arzoo: "Government elected through rigged elections is an illegitimate government." As usual, you are prone to making sweeping assertions without any evidence. Why do you think that your hunch or speculation is an empirically verified conclusion?
@objective observer: Spot on! Thanks.
Abdullah Abdullah hit his ceiling and fulfilled the votes from his demographic in the first round voting. The Pashtun vote was split up between multiple candidates. Dr. Ghani is also very much more qualified to advance Afghanistan economically than Abdullah could ever hope to be. Ghani has an extraordinary resume and is an extremely educated man that is verifiable. Ghani picked up the split vote in the second round and I suspect he also was able to pick up some of Abdullah's initial votes as well.
It is surprizing that Dr. Abdullah Abdullah has trailed in the final round. Its really unbelievable. But whats the fraud??? Were the ballot boxes not opened and locked before the representatives of all the parties? Were it not sealed after the polling in front of the party functionaries? Were the seals not checked by party reps before opening? what has gone wrong and where? This is indeed a serious matter. Dr. Abdullah gracefully withdrew in the last elections and he is indeed not a whiner or bad loser. He is the most deserving person to bring peace in Afghanistan. Dr. Ghani will be like India's Manmohan Singh and will rely more on his deputy Abdul Rashid Dostum for tackling the talibans. As a non Afghan both Dr. Ghani and Dr. Abdullah look excellent to lead the nation. But the truth must come out whoever be the president.
First of all Arzoo, you have no appropriate amount of evidence to ascertain that the outcome of the election was primarily due to fraud. Ghani does have a lead of over one million votes. Second, a tremendous amount of patience and respect has been paid to Abdullah's camp throughout this process allowing for the auditing of thousands of polling stations.
Why won't Mr. Abdullah work within the confines of the election commission, the law, along with U.N. representatives? Why shouldn't there be a complete audit of not only jurisdictions that would favor Ghani but also those that would favor Abdullah?
This is a very serious election with international observers and clear outlined method to making complaints and having them addressed.
The fact that Abdullah is not willing to participate in the process is very regrettable. You have no reason to suggest that Ghani would not have won the election if it weren't for fraud. So lets not make grandiose statements when Mr. Abdullah can clearly take more action personally to achieve more legitimacy from the election but refuses.
Abdullah Abdullah won the election fair and square. Ashraf Ghani's deputy has the blood of Pashtuns on his hands and nobody in the right mind would vote for Ghani. This election was rigged and as a result Ghani and Abdullah will form a coalition government.
A World Bank 'economist' wins rigged elections held under NATO military occupation. Anyone surprised?
There will always be protests in a democracy. Unanimity is a sign of dictatorship. Such problems of rigging, electoral malpractices, corruption etc. is found in all upcoming democracies and it settles with time. In India also, there were rampant malpractices found in elections but as the democracy matured, such things are subsiding. I think dr. Abdullah should accept and respect the verdict with a pinch of salt in the interest of democracy, peace and progress of Afghanistan.
Dr. Ghani does not look like a politician who would himself indulge in electoral malpractice but may be the system has failed somewhere. Instead of blaming the system Afghans should give it a time to develop and mature. There have been observers from the UN and the world and they have not reported any grave violations so as to reject this verdict. Another example is Bangladesh where, albeit with hitches, the democracy is strengthening.
I would disagree with @Professor that Afpak nations dont have traditions of democracy. Unlike Pakistan who got several opportunity to be a democracy, Afghanistan hardly got any chance as when the kingdom was overthrown Afghanistan has been under foreign influence most of the time. I would say the democracy began in Afghanistan only since 2009 elections.
@Professor: So by your definition, Bush Junior's stand off at Florida recount makes them a part of Afpak nation?
Gul Mar Jan ye na mani means Gul Mar Jan is not accepting the results. After Afghan presdential elections the slogan Gul Marjan ye na mani is became very popular in Afghanistan and Pashtoon belt of Pakistan. What is this saying and its background ? if you wana know more just click the link of Pashto Times.
If the civil war erupts, which seems imminent now, people will clamor for restoration of Taliban rule!
I am very surprised at the apathy of commenters about rigging and stealing elections. Elections are a means of instituting a government selected by people and thereby acquires legitimacy. Government elected through rigged elections is an illegitimate government. If someone is elected through fair means they are never afraid of a transparent audit and recounts. Legitimate votes, if recounted a hundred times, will still be legitimate votes. Illegitimate winners are the real losers.
AfPak nations have one thing in common. The loser always cries "dandli". That is because there is no tradition of democracy.
Without a unifying leader accepted by all sides, Afghanistan could plunge into civil war with the risk of partition.
It seems Abdullah Abdullah is following Imran Khan's script. Since he has lost the election he believes it was rigged - must be a conspiracy against him. I guess once the new government is sworn in then he also will start a long march towards Kabul to bring it down. Like Mr. Khan, it is always about these politicians. The winner thinks election were fair whereas looser thinks that victory was his but was stolen. Damn with people who wasted so much time, money and effort to go through election, unless I am the chosen one I will not allow anyone else to be chosen either!
I guess the "loser" will always cry the "foul play".