So today the results of Afghan election are officially announced. The election will not be concluded in the first round, and a month from now there will be another round.
After almost six weeks of counts, recounts and fraud investigations,Afghans now know who will proceed to a second round in the country’s long-winded process to replace President Hamid Karzai.
Abdullah Abdullah, a former foreign minister, who claimed 45 per cent of first-round votes will face Ashraf Ghani [Ahmadzai], a former finance minister, whose energetic campaign and social media nous propelled him to 31.6 per cent, on June 14.
Both have promised to sign a much-delayed deal to allow American troops to stay in the country beyond the end of the year and stood on similar, ideology-free platforms.
So far the election has been a victory for the supporters of democracy around the globe. These are the reasons:
- People of Afghanistan showed a proverbial middle finger to the Taliban and other Islamist groups trying to stop these elections from happening, turn out was high, and among women too.
- This is the first time in recent history that the president in power is leaving power and handing it to a new person with no violence and in a democratic fashion.
- The security forces and the NATO managed to keep violence at a minimum.
- There were few complaints, both candidates ultimately accepted the results, so not perfect, but progress.
- The candidate of the current administration didn’t even go to the second round, both remaining candidates were among the opposition, so no Putin/Medvedev shenanigans, a good news.
- And best of all: the Islamist candidates placed at 4th and 6th, garnering only 9% of the votes put together. Suck on that, political Islam.
A very good day for Afghanistan, and I wish the best for Afghan people.