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Election commission declares Ghani winner

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KABUL: Afghanistan’s Independent Election Commission on Tuesday declared incumbent president Ashraf Ghani as the winner of the 2019 contested presidential elections with 50.64% of the vote, amid claims of vote rigging by his rival and governing partner in the ongoing unity government Abdullah Abdullah. The final result puts Abdullah at 39.52%.

President Ghani secured another five-year term after winning a presidential election victory that has been embroiled in controversy over massive fraud and an ensuing acrimony and intense political rivalries.

In a televised address to the nation, Ghani said his victory is not only a victory of election but a victory of Islamic republic of Afghanistan. He said, “We will move forward with the peace negotiations,” whose final outcome will be made by the nation. He also vowed unswerving struggle to end the war and save the country from crisis.

After months of painstaking audit and recount, Afghanistan’s Independent Election Commission Chief, Hawa Alam Nuristani, released the long-delayed outcomes of the disputed September 28 vote, noting that Ghani secured around 923,592 votes of the more than 1.8 million total tallied votes.

Results for the September 28 presidential poll had been repeatedly delayed, and the saga seemingly will drag on with Ghani’s main challenger Abdullah Abdullah declaring himself the winner of the disputed vote.

During the first phase of audit and recount in December, nearly one million of the initial 2.7 million votes were purged owing to irregularities. Abdullah, who serves as the country’s chief executive in a fragile national unity government, has repeatedly alleged that the vote was marred by fraud and technical difficulties. The final audit, however, failed to cave to Abdullah’s repetitive demands for scrapping of another 300,000 ballots which he touted as bogus and invalid.

This comes as Abdullah’s team announced last week they would not accept fraudulent results. Current Vice President Abdul Rashid Dostum has also threatened to form a parallel government if fraudulent election results are announced.

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