Sunday, December 21, 2014

Karzai edges ahead in Afghan poll

initial counting from Afghanistan’s presidential election shows incumbent Hamid Karzai with a slight lead.

With 10% of the ballots counted, the election commission said Mr Karzai had 212,927 votes, compared to 202,889 for ex-Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah.

However, there remain many allegations of fraud, and the commission is investigating almost 800 complaints.

Final results are not expected for several weeks. A candidate needs more than 50% of votes to avoid a run-off.

Shortly after the figures were announced, reports came in of a large explosion in the southern city of Kandahar, followed by gunfire. There were reports of casualties but no further details.

‘Too early to call’

The Independent Election Commission said that so far 524,444 valid votes had been counted, with Mr Karzai on 40.6% and Mr Abdullah on 38.7%.
Ramazan Bashardost has 53,740 votes so far and Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai is fourth on 15,143.

Only 2% of votes in Kandahar province have been counted and none in Helmand. Mr Karzai is expected to do well in both southern provinces.

electiongraph

Other leading candidates: Ramazan Bashardost 53,740 (10.2%) Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai 15,143 (2.9%) Winning candidate needs more than 50% of votes to avoid a run-off

The commission says it will release more results over the next few days.

Before the announcement of the first results, Mr Abdullah called on Afghans to react calmly.

“I’m urging Afghans… to be patient and to show responsibility. I think that the people don’t want to resort to violence,” he said.

Washington’s special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan, Richard Holbrooke, said on Tuesday the initial results were not conclusive.

“You don’t call it with 10%… it’s too early to call,” he said.

The BBC’s Ian Pannell in Kabul says any preliminary claims about the result must be viewed with caution in the light of the allegations of fraud, corruption and ballot-stuffing and concerns about low voter turnout, especially in the south.

The election commission is also being urged to wait until the official adjudicators, the Electoral Complaints Commission (ECC), completes its investigation.

There are almost 800 complaints of fraud and irregularities and, out of these, 54 are considered to be very serious.

Mr Abdullah has said that he has evidence that voting was widely rigged in favour of Mr Karzai. Mr Abdullah said he had submitted the allegations to the ECC.

Another leading presidential candidate, Mirwais Yasini, told the BBC that workers from his campaign discovered about 800 ballots with ticks next to his name thst he believes had been discarded from the ballot box.

The evidence has been handed to the ECC.

Afghan and Western officials have declared last Thursday’s poll a success, despite concerns about the turnout, especially in the insurgency-wracked south.

The Nato-led International Security Assistance Force said there were more than 400 insurgent attacks on election day, which would make it one of the most violent days in Afghanistan since 2001.

Mr Holbrooke said on Sunday that allegations of fraud were to be expected.

Story from BBC NEWS:

UNSC Press Statement on the elections in Afghanistan

The members of the Security Council welcome the holding of the presidential and provincial council elections in Afghanistan on 20 August 2009. The members of the Council reiterate the importance of these elections as Afghanistan, working together with other members of the international community, continues to make progress towards its goals and congratulate the people of Afghanistan on their participation in these historic elections. The members also applaud the efforts to prepare for and hold these elections by the Afghan Government, the Independent Electoral Commission, the Electoral Complaints Commission, the Media Commission, Afghanistan’s National Security Forces and the Afghan people and recognize the strong support of international partners, in particular that of UNAMA and ISAF. The members of the Security Council welcome the level of public debate during the campaign, through the media and in communities, which has enabled the people of Afghanistan to discuss the issues that are important to them.

The members of the Security Council condemn the actions of those who sought to deny the voice of the Afghan people by attempting to disrupt the elections. The members of the Council condemn violent and terrorist activities by the Taliban, Al-Qaida and other extremist groups aimed at destabilizing the situation in the country. The members commend the performance of the Afghan National Security Forces in today’s election and call on the Afghan Government, with the assistance of the international community, including ISAF and the Operation Enduring Freedom coalition, in accordance with their respective responsibilities, to continue to address the threat to the security and stability of Afghanistan.

The members of the Council look forward to the announcement of the final results of the elections by the Independent Electoral Commission, call on all involved to continue cooperating with all Afghan electoral institutions and look forward to working with the newly elected representatives of the people of Afghanistan to help them deliver good governance, security, and justice, strengthen rule of law, and enhance economic opportunity for all Afghans.

Secretary-General’s Statement on Afghan Election

Statement Attributable to the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General

On elections in Afghanistan

The Secretary-General would like to congratulate the women and men of Afghanistan on today’s Presidential and Provincial Council elections. He notes that, by exercising their Constitutional right to vote, the Afghan people have demonstrated again their desire for stability and development in their country.

The Secretary-General commends the Independent Election Commission, and all other Afghan institutions and international stakeholders supporting the electoral process for organizing the elections in an extremely challenging environment. He encourages all candidates, their agents and supporters to continue cooperating with all Afghan electoral institutions during the counting of ballots and the results aggregation period, the complaints and adjudication process and the certification of results.

New York, 20 August 2009