News ID: 265847
Published: 0624 GMT February 18, 2020

Afghanistan’s incumbent Ghani declared winner of presidential poll

Afghanistan’s incumbent Ghani declared winner of presidential poll

Afghanistan’s electoral body has declared incumbent President Ashraf Ghani the winner of the September 2019 presidential vote after months of a bitter dispute and delayed results.

Ghani secured 50.64 percent of the votes and a second term as president of Afghanistan, according to the final results of the September 28, 2019 poll, announced by Independent Election Commission chief Hawa Alam Nuristani on Tuesday.

The results from the poll were initially scheduled to be released on October 19 last year, but the announcement was delayed multiple times, with IEC officials citing various technical problems, Presstv Reported.

Ghani’s leading challenger, Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah, had also made allegations of vote-rigging and forced a recount.

The vote was held last year amid a record number of Taliban attacks intended to undermine the election.

The election saw by far the lowest turnout in any Afghan poll. The turnout has been unofficially estimated at a little over two million. Nearly a million of the initial votes were purged owing to irregularities, and about 300,000 more votes had problems, with only about 1.8 million valid votes from a total of 9.6 million registered voters in a population of around 37 million people.

Earlier this week, Abdullah’s camp said it would not accept the results. His supporters have accused Afghanistan’s electoral authorities of favoring Ghani and threatened to form a parallel government if the commission announced results that did not satisfy their grievances.

Afghan politician Abdullah Abdullah speaks in a press conference after the announcement of the preliminary election results in Kabul, Afghanistan, on December 22, 2019. (Photo by AFP)

Current Vice-President Abdul Rashid Dostum, an ally of Abdullah’s, has also threatened to form a parallel government if what he called fraudulent election results are announced.

Abdullah was seeking the presidency for the third time, after losing in 2009 and 2014.

The ongoing uncertainty raises the possibility that the country may head for a repeat of the power crisis that followed the last presidential election, in 2014. Then, Ghani and Abdullah fought a close and angry race that sparked widespread allegations of fraud and saw the United States step in to broker an awkward power-sharing agreement between the rivals under a unity government.

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