Afghanistan Long Term Trends: Sustained Support Essential for Survival of Democracy | Security Risks Asia Humane ClubMade with Humane Club

Afghanistan Long Term Trends: Sustained Support Essential for Survival of Democracy

Published Dec 24, 2019
Updated Feb 05, 2020

While preliminary results of the Presidential Elections have been declared and welcomed by all, serious concerns over low participation (4.55 %), inefficient conduct and widespread allegations of fraud denote development of stable democracy in Afghanistan is a work in progress.

Given possible mainstreaming of the Taliban and their rejection of democracy as a system of governance preferring the Emirate system, there are severe concerns of survival of democracy in the country in the long term.

After much delay outcome of the Afghan Presidential elections which were held on 28 September was declared on 20 December.

Incumbent President Ashraf Ghani has won 50.64 % votes just making the cut for evading second round of voting

Over 50 per cent 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 number .

There was a low percentage of voting in the polls with 4.55% of Afghanistan’s population taking part which means 2.3% vote for Mohammad Ashraf Ghani.

This low percentage of votes could be due to a variety of factors but electing a head of state below 5 % participation and less than 3 % of the population opting for Mr Ghani for now, legitimacy of democracy in the country would be questioned by some.

While causes for low participation may be many, including coercion by the Taliban, serious consideration to lack of democratic roots needs to be given to build up a constituency for the same.

The 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 is another major concern for the future of the country.

Allegations of fraud with conglomerate of Council of Presidential Candidates rejecting the preliminary results of the presidential election and suggest the establishment of a national participation government to end the crisis is an indicator that despite holding at least six elections – three parliamentary and three Presidential the elections commission in the country remain inefficient and riddle with corruption.

The Taliban, in turn, reject the Westphalian concept of state with democratic roots. Any compromise with the Taliban in the intra Afghan talks would undoubtedly entail a discussion on the future state system. The Taliban has indicated that they would prefer the Emirate system.

Thus, multiple factors do not seem to portend stability for a democratic system in Afghanistan.