Afghan Presidential Elections: Preliminary Outcome Denotes Uncertainty Ahead
Incumbent President Ashraf Ghani has won 50.64 % votes just making the cut for evading second round of voting, but non acceptance by other candidates marks uncertainty ahead.
Independent Election Commission of Afghanistan announced the preliminary presidential election results after a prolonged delay on 22 December.
Afghan presidential elections were held on September 28 but results were delayed due to controversy over various issues including allegations of vote fudging and fraud.
Hawa Alam Nuristani, the head of Independent Election Commission announced, President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani has secured 923,868 out of 1,824,401 votes casted which makes almost 50.64%. Over 50 percent votes are necessary in the first round to be declared as the winner, otherwise there is a run off between the first two candidates winning the largest votes.
Ghani’s main rival Abdullah Abdullah got 720,099 votes which makes 39.52% of the total votes casted.
Other candidates won below 5 % of the votes. Gulbduddin Hekmatyar with 70,243 (3.85%), Rahmatullah Nabil with 33921 (1.86%) and Faramarz Tammana with 18,066 (0.99%) votes respectively stand on 3rd, 4th and 5th places.
Candidates have 72 hours to file complaints with the electoral complains commission after the preliminary results announcement, said Nuristani.
There was low percentage of voting in the polls with 4.55% of Afghanistan’s population taking part with 2.3% voting for Mohammad Ashraf Ghani.
With such a low percentage of votes electing the President the legitimacy of democracy in the country would be questioned by some
Importantly as per the IEC figures 31% women participated in the 2019 presidential election. The division of votes also denotes a geographic divide with a majority in the 16 Southern and Eastern provinces which has Pashtun dominance voting for Mr Ghani while 18 provinces in central and northern Afghanistan which has a mix of Tajiks, Uzbeks and Hazara voting for Abdullah Abdullah
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Independent Electoral Complaints Commission (IECC) will now assess the electoral complaints will publish the final results with 39 working days required for the process. The outcome will thus be known by mid-February.
Dr Abdullah’s team has reiterated that they hope the IECC will address their complaints based on the law.
The conglomerate of Council of Presidential Candidates in a statement said they do not accept the preliminary results of the presidential election and suggest the establishment of a national participation government to end the crisis.
So uncertainty is likely to continue.
Independent Electoral Complaints Commission (IECC). The IECC has said that assessing the electoral complaints will take up to 39 working days.
Apart from the narrow margin of the winning candidate, low voting percentage and division of votes on regional (ethnic) lines raises concerns for a stable Afghan democracy.