By: The Kabul Times
o We respect every single vote, because we want democracy to endure: Nuristani
o All Afghan authorities must demonstrate their commitments to safeguard and complete election process: UNAMA
KABUL: After months of delay and bitter allegations of fraud and corruption in the September 28 presidential election, Afghanistan’s Independent Election Commission (IEC) announced the preliminary results during a press conference here on Sunday.
The IEC Chief Hawa Alam Nuristani said a total of 1,824,401 votes were cast in the September 28 presidential election in the country. According to her, incumbent President Ghani won 923,868 (50.64%) votes, incumbent Chief Executive Dr. Abdullah Abdullah followed with 720,990 (39.52%) votes and Gulbuddin Hekmatyar came third with 70, 243 votes (3.85%).
IEC chief said that candidates and their representatives have three days to lodge their complaints with the Electoral Complaints Commission.
“We, with honesty, loyalty, responsibility and faithfulness completed our duty,” IEC chairwoman Nuristani said. “We respected every single vote because we wanted democracy to endure.”
Addressing the nation on Sunday evening, incumbent president who led the initial announcement with majority of votes congratulated the nation, adding the country was moving forward from ambiguity to enlightenment.
“Our country is going ahead from distrust to national trust and from division to national unity,” the president added.
Meanwhile, as soon as results were announced, Dr. Abdullah’s office said in a statement he would contest them. “We would like to make it clear once again to our people, supporters, election commission and our international allies that our team will not accept the result of this fraudulent vote unless our legitimate demands are addressed,” the statement read.
Meanwhile, the US ambassador to Afghanistan John Bass said it was vital the full electoral process plays out. “It’s important for all Afghans to remember: these results are preliminary. Many steps remain before final election results are certified, to ensure the Afghan people have confidence in the results,” Bass wrote on Twitter.
The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), which provided support to electoral authorities, welcomed the announcement of preliminary results and called on the Electoral Complaints Commission to listen carefully to any grievances.
“The ECC has an obligation to adjudicate any complaints it receives transparently and thoroughly so the election process may conclude in a credible manner,” UNAMA head Tadamichi Yamamoto said, as quoted in a statement released by the agency.
“On 28 September 2019, the citizens of Afghanistan braved security threats to cast their votes for a better future; those voters deserve to be commended for carrying out their civic duty,” said Tadamichi Yamamoto, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan. “Now, all Afghan authorities and actors must demonstrate their commitment to safeguard and complete the election, and to protect the integrity of the final stage of the process.”
Meanwhile, the French Embassy in Kabul on Sunday welcomed the initial announcement of Afghan election results, saying, “We take note of the preliminary results of the presidential election.”
The fact that this democratic process could take place in a difficult context is in itself a victory for the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and its people, the embassy said in a statement. “We commend the President and the Chief Executive for having imposed the election to take place this year, in conformity with the Constitution. We value the work of election management bodies of civil society and security forces in the organizing of the process.”
“A free and fair election is the best testimony of the strength of the Afghan democracy. The Afghan people deserve the full respect of the Constitution, which is their war bounty. Implementing and preserving it is the best way to consolidate the rights and values it enshrines against the enemies of the Republic and of democracy,” the embassy said.
The embassy went on saying that the electoral process is not, and has never been, incompatible with peace negotiations, on the contrary. “A democratically elected president with a clear mandate from the people will have the necessary legitimacy to engage the Republic into intra-Afghan negotiations. The future president will have to bring together all Afghans and take an inclusive stance to bring a sustainable peace while building upon the achievements of the last 18 years and tackling vital issues, such as effective struggle against terrorism, narcotrafficking, poverty and corruption.”