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There are more chances of a ‘runoff’ presidential election in Afghanistan

By Khushnood Nabizada

The Independent Election Commission of Afghanistan announced the preliminary election results on Sunday, wherein, President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani secured 50.64%, his main rival Chief Executive Dr. Abdullah Abdullah got 39.52% and the other candidates only received 9.84% of the votes.

Soon after the results announced, the ‘Stability and Convergence’ electoral team announced they do not accept the preliminary results for not being transparent.

Abdullah Abdullah’s electoral team accuses the Independent Election Commission for counting 300,000 fraudulent votes in the favor of ‘State Builder’ electoral team.

The ‘Stability and Convergence’ have so far filed 4,000 complaints with the Independent Electoral Complaints Commission.

The IECC announced they will review the complaints and will share the results back with IEC within five weeks.

Seemingly, the 300K controversial votes will either be fully or partially invalidated which will reduce the votes of President Ghani to a remarkable extend; if he loses at least 12,000 votes, he will dramatically drop off below 50%.

Thousands of Afghan citizens in 20 provinces – mostly in all northern and central provinces – marched on the streets and protested against the 300K suspicious votes. Apparently IECC will take those moves into account and will carefully verify them to ensure only genuine votes are counted.

On the other hand, if we assume to total population of Afghanistan around 40m, only 4.55% of the population has participated in the 2019 presidential election. The legitimacy of the election will go under a big question mark if anyone securing only 2.3% of the nation’s votes becomes the president.

In the meantime, Taliban and US are busy negotiating a political settlement in Afghanistan. If the peace talks succeed, the Taliban will definitely integrate in the community and of course will demand for power sharing.

Taking the above mentioned matters into account, the election can go either to a runoff or an interim government will come into being to facilitate the political settlement.

The writer is Khushnood Nabizada, the founding editor at the Khaama Press News Agency, an influential news outlet with special focus on the English language which was established in October 2010 and is now one of the largest English news service provider in Afghanistan.

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