On Monday 29 September 2014, Dr. Mohammad Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai was sworn in as Afghanistan’s new president. His inauguration represented the first democratic transfer of power from one President to the next in the country’s history. In accordance with a political agreement between the two presidential candidates, the runner-up, Dr. Abdullah Abdullah was then sworn in as Afghanistan’ chief executive.
In an oath administered by the chief justice, President Ghani pledged to “support the holy religion of Islam, observe the constitution and all laws and remain vigilant for its application, guard the independence, national sovereignty, and territorial integrity of Afghanistan and protect the rights and interests of the people of Afghanistan.“ In his first speech as the new President of Afghanistan, he vowed to tackle poverty, corruption and security and work towards development and peace in the country.
Dignitaries including the President of Pakistan, the Vice Presidents of India and France, the Deputy Prime Minister of Turkey, representatives of many countries including Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Qatar, various Ambassadors as well as Afghan leaders, past presidents and high authorities including His Highness Prince Karim Aga Khan attended the inauguration. 1400 guests, including approximately 200 foreign dignitaries were in attendance.
Outgoing President H.E. Mr. Hamid Karzai also attended the inauguration. “I’m very grateful to Allah to give me the power to hand over the power to the new president today,” he said as new President Ghani was sworn in. Two Vice Presidents were also sworn in followed by swearing in of the new chief executive Dr. Abdullah Abdullah and his deputies.
The inauguration comes almost six months after the first round of Presidential elections was held on 5 April 2014, and follows an extensive audit of every single vote cast in the second round of Presidential elections held 14 June. The audit, unprecedented in scope and scale worldwide, was overseen by the United Nations and was preceded by an agreement between both candidates facilitated by the United States Secretary of State, John F. Kerry which called for the candidates to form a national unity government.
“Millions of Afghans voted, millions of those votes were validated through the audit process, a significant proportion of fraud was discovered in the audit and those votes were invalidated, and there is a result, which is a lawful, constitutional result,” the American Ambassador to Afghanistan said in Kabul. Afghanistan’s Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) presented Dr. Ghani with a certificate indicating that he won 55.27 percent out of 7.12 million total votes cast on Friday, 26 September.