Ashraf Ghani ahead in disputed Afghan vote-count

Published July 8, 2014
Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai
Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai

KABUL: Afghan officials released on Monday preliminary election results showing former finance minister Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai well in the lead for the presidency but said no winner could be declared because millions of ballots were being audited for fraud.

The announcement came as Ahmadzai is locked in a standoff with his rival Abdullah Abdullah, who has refused to accept any results until all fraudulent ballots are invalidated.

Many of Ahmadzai’s supporters didn’t wait for final results to celebrate. Hundreds took to the streets of Kabul and the southern city of Kandahar, playing drums and dancing after hearing the news.

The Independent Election Commission (IEC) acknowledged that vote rigging had occurred and said ballots from about 7,000 more of the nearly 23,000 polling stations would be audited.

Abdullah Abdullah
Abdullah Abdullah

“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, adding: “We are not denying fraud in the election; some governors and Afghan government officials were involved in fraud.”

The results showed that Ghani had about 4.5 million votes, or 56 per cent, while Abdullah had 3.5 million votes, or 44pc, according to the commission. Turnout was more than 50pc, IEC spokesman Noor Mohammad Noor said.

Abdullah, a former foreign minister who won the first round of voting on April 5 by a large margin, says his campaign monitors recorded ballot box stuffing and other irregularities, prompting him to suspend his cooperation with electoral officials.

The European Union also expressed concern about “highly worrying indications of potentially widespread fraud”.

The US also urged caution. “We have seen today’s announcement of preliminary results and note that these figures are not final or authoritative and may not predict the final outcome, which could still change based on the findings of the Afghan electoral bodies,” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said in a statement.—AP

Published in Dawn, July 8th, 2014

Opinion

Editorial

Saudi investment
Updated 10 Apr, 2024

Saudi investment

The state has to address barriers that stand in the way of attracting foreign investment, and create a pro-business environment.
Charity for change
Updated 11 Apr, 2024

Charity for change

PAKISTANIS are large-hearted people who empty their pockets at the slightest hint of another’s need. The Stanford...
World Bank’s advice
Updated 09 Apr, 2024

World Bank’s advice

The next IMF programme will be far tougher than any other Pakistan has embarked on in the past.
Middle East heat
09 Apr, 2024

Middle East heat

America must communicate to Israel that further provocations, particularly targeting sovereign states, will be unacceptable.
Killing fields
09 Apr, 2024

Killing fields

PERHAPS rankled by the daily flood of grisly news — murders, armed robberies, muggings and kidnappings — and...