The longest presidential election in the history of Afghanistan

The final decision of the presidential elections in the country should actually be made in the fourth round on September 28, 2019. But things turned out differently.

The fourth round of voting began at 7 am in Kabul and was to continue at 3 pm. However, the IEC (Independent Election Commission), which was set up to conduct and monitor the elections, extended it to 5 p.m. This was intended to achieve a higher turnout.

In the run-up to this election, 18 people registered as presidential candidates. However, five of these candidates withdrew from the race in the following days. In the end 13 candidates took part in the election.

There is no clear route for the Afghan Government.

According to the Afghan election calendar, the preliminary election results were to be announced on 19 October 2019. However, this result was only announced with a three-month delay on 22 December 2019. According to the preliminary election results, Mr Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai won the majority. However, many presidential candidates did not accept the preliminary election results and accused the IEC of making a false announcement. One of the factors that delayed the announcement of the election results was that some of the biometric devices’ information was inconsistent with the Commission’s information and, therefore, more accurate data transmission was carried out.  An IEC spokesman said: “Due to problems in transferring information from biometric devices to the IEC system, the IEC was delayed and therefore the preliminary results of the elections were not postponed.

The head of the IEC named Hawa Alaam Norestani declared Ghani the winner with only 50.64% of the votes on 18 February 2020 after further delays of several months. She called on the supporters of President Ghani and the entire Afghan population to acknowledge this result. Further she congratulated the new and old President of the Islamic Republic and wished Ghani all the best for a better future of the country.

However, Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, former Director General of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and presidential candidate, added that the presidential elections were a failed and unacceptable election. He still rejected the election results and considers himself elected President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan with 39.52% of the votes. Therefore, Abdullah now plans to form his own government.

IEC leader Norestani said that Mr Abdullah’s statements will not affect the Afghan government and people. Norestani also said that the Afghan people had officially declared their support for Mr Ashraf Ghani. The fact that two candidates have now declared themselves the legitimate winners of the election means that further political crises are inevitable. The people who will suffer most from this dispute are the civilians who, in these chaotic conditions in the country, urgently need a united government. This conflict is likely to play into the hands of the Taliban leaders, who are continuing to increase their influence. Especially because new negotiations on the future of the country between the US and the Taliban are imminent.

Our author Ellaha Anwari. Picture: Negar Karamzadeh

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