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

The Supreme Court in Washington, D.C. voted against Arizona's appeal, which would have allowed a state ban on drivers licenses for young undocumented immigrants.

Supreme Court Refuses To Block Arizona Drivers Licenses For ‘Dreamers’

Arizona’s appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court failed to prevent the state from having to issue driving permits to undocumented immigrants brought into the country as children.


George Stinney Jr. appears in an undated police booking photo provided by the South Carolina Department of Archives and History. A South Carolina judge vacated the conviction of the 14-year-old, who was executed in 1944, saying he didn't receive a fair trial.

S.C. Judge Says 1944 Execution Of 14-Year-Old Boy Was Wrong

In her ruling, Circuit Judge Carmen Mullen wrote that she found that “fundamental, Constitutional violations of due process exist in the 1944 prosecution of George Stinney, Jr.”


U.S. intelligence officials believe North Korea was centrally involved in the recent attack on Sony Pictures' computer network — possibly out of retribution for its film The Interview. Above, a security guard stands outside a theater during the film's premiere in Los Angeles last week.

U.S. Officials Believe North Korea Was Behind Sony Hack

The recent attack on Sony Pictures’ computer network that resulted in a flood of confidential data has its origins in North Korea, U.S. intelligence officials say.


Bearing the message "The Greatest Gift is Knowledge," a holiday display by the Satanic Temple will accompany a Christian Nativity scene on the grounds of the Michigan State Capitol.

Satanist And Christian Holiday Displays To Go Up At Michigan Capitol

The situation has brought controversy — and energized Christians who realized that a planned Nativity scene was in danger of being canceled.


Obama Issues 12 Pardons, Commutes 8 Sentences

President Obama commuted the prison sentences of eight people who were convicted of drug-related crimes Wednesday, in a move that also saw 12 presidential pardons issued.


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