On Monday, the Independent Elections Commission officially announced the results of the fall 2009 Presidential elections, declaring President Hamid Karzai the winner and announcing him as President for the next five years.
The decision was made by the IEC by consensus after challenger Dr. Abdullah Abdullah pulled out of the second round on Saturday. As a result, the IEC was forced to decide whether to go through with the run-off or not. In making this decision, the IEC said, it took into account “the high interest of the Afghan people and to prevent uncertainty and a lot of challenges to stability and security.”
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon was in Kabul on Monday, and he met with both Dr. Abdullah and President Karzai. He welcomed the IEC’s decision and congratulated President Karzai. In a statement, he said, “This has been a difficult election process for Afghanistan and lessons must be learned. Afghanistan now faces significant challenges and the new President must move swiftly to form a Government that is able to command the support of both the Afghan people and the international community. The United Nations remains committed to providing every support and assistance to the new Government in helping to push forward progress for all peoples of Afghanistan.”
President Karzai also received a phone call of congratulations from UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown, who reiterated his country’s commitment to assisting Afghanistan and the Afghan people. The US Embassy in Kabul posted a statement on its website congratulating President Karzai on his victory and stating that the US “look[s]forward to working with him, his new administration, the Afghan people and our partners in the international community to support Afghaninstan’s progress toward institutional reforms, security and prosperity.” Top administration officials from the United States also pledged to work with President Karzai to create better governance and security for the country. On Sunday, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton stated that the US “will support the next government of Afghanistan,” and expressed the opinion that Dr. Abdullah’s withdrawal from the run-off would not hurt the legitimacy of the process.