Nation & World News

Early Afghan Vote Count Gives Ex-Finance Minister The Lead

By Krishnadev Calamur on July 7th, 2014

Former Afghan Finance Minister Ashraf Ghani is in the lead to succeed Hamid Karzai as the country’s next president, according to preliminary results Monday from the disputed vote.

The country’s Independent Election Commission said Ghani had 56.44 percent of the vote. His main rival, Abdullah Abdullah, received 43.56 percent. The results were due last week but were delayed amid Abdullah’s allegations of widespread fraud.

Abdullah, the former foreign minister, easily won the first round of voting on April 5 with 45 percent of the ballots, but he fell short of the 50 percent needed for an outright victory. In that vote, Abdullah held a 14 percentage-point lead over Ghani. As NPR’s Sean Carberry reported last week: “Many thought Abdullah was on target to be the next president.”

But as unofficial results began to trickle in, it became clear that Ghani, a former World Bank official, was winning comfortably. Abdullah alleged massive fraud, and refused to accept the results.

According to Monday’s results, Ghani had 4,485,888 votes to Abdullah’s 3,461,639 votes — a difference of a little more than 1 million votes.

The election commission acknowledged that there had been some fraud, and promised a full investigation before final results are released.

“We cannot ignore that there were technical problems and fraud that took place during the election process,” the commission’s chairman Ahmad Yousuf Nouristani said. “We are not denying fraud in the election; some governors and Afghan government officials were involved in fraud.”

His comments were reported by The Associated Press.

Indeed as Sean told Morning Edition today, the European Union says at least a quarter of the ballot boxes must be audited for this election to be certified as legitimate.

The election is seen as crucial and will pave the way for Afghanistan’s first democratic transition of power. Karzai has served two consecutive terms, and is stepping down per the country’s Constitution. Western troops are scheduled to leave Afghanistan by the end of the year, and the eventual winner of the election is expected to sign a security pact with the U.S., which would leave some 10,000 troops in the country for training and counterterrorism purposes.

But the impasse over the election results is renewing fears of a descent into chaos. Here’s more from Sean’s story:

“The international community is working aggressively behind the scenes to pressure the candidates and Afghanistan’s electoral commissions to work transparently and quickly, and to find a way to address Abdullah’s concerns.

“But there’s a growing fear that one side or the other will end up believing the election was stolen — either on election day or during the counting and fraud adjudication process.

“The best-case scenario is a new president takes office lacking a mandate and with roughly half the country against him. In the worst case, the losing side decides to contest the decision — not with lawyers, but with warlords.”

Final results are due July 22.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

This entry was posted in News from NPR. Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.

 

More Stories in News from NPR

Video shows a woman trying to outrun a train.

WATCH: Video Shows Women Narrowly Escape Death On Railroad Tracks

The 4,000-ton freight train could not come to a stop. But the women laid down between the rails and survived.


Video shows a woman trying to outrun a train.

WATCH: Video Shows Women Narrowly Escape Death On Railroad Tracks

The 4,000-ton freight train could not come to a stop. But the women laid down between the rails and survived.


Video shows a woman trying to outrun a train.

WATCH: Video Shows Women Narrowly Escape Death On Railroad Tracks

The 4,000-ton freight train could not come to a stop. But the women laid down between the rails and survived.


A Palestinian girl cries while receiving treatment for her injuries caused by an Israeli strike at a U.N. school in Jebaliya refugee camp, at the Kamal Adwan hospital in Beit Lahiya on Wednesday.

Gaza Conflict: Shell Strikes U.N. School, Killing Up To 19 Who Sought Shelter

One U.N. official said this was a “breaking point.” The conflict, now going into its 23rd day, shows no sign of abating. The death toll in Gaza has now surpassed 1,200.


Water cascades down a stairway to a parking structure adjacent to Pauley Pavlion, home of UCLA basketball.

Water Main Break Dumps Up To 10 Million Gallons Of Water, Flooding UCLA

It took officials about four hours to figure out which valve needed to be closed. By then, the UCLA campus was under water, with some staircases looking like waterfalls.


Thank you for your support

WUFT depends on the support of our community — people like you — to help us continue to provide quality programming to North Central Florida.
Become a Sustainer
I want to support FM 89.1/NPR
I want to support Florida's 5/PBS
Donate a Vehicle
Day Sponsorship Payments
Underwriting Payments