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UN welcomes initial results of elections in Afghanistan

The UN on Sunday welcomed the announcement of the much-awaited preliminary results for Afghanistan’s landmark presidential election held in September. 

In a statement, the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) said Afghans braved security threats to cast their votes for a better future, and now, authorities and candidates must take the elections to its final stage.

According to the country’s Independent Election Commission (IEC), incumbent President Ashraf Ghani secured the minimum required 50%-plus-one-vote in the first round held on Sept. 28 leaving no round for a rerun.

Hava Alam Nuristani, head of the IEC, told a presser in this connection that the commission has strived hard to ensure honesty and transparency in the polls marred by irregularities, allegations of fraud and technical glitches.

As per the results, Ghani grabbed 50.6% of the votes followed by his power-sharing Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah with 39.5% and veteran Mujahedeen leader Gulbuddin Hekmatyar with 3.8%. Abdullah’s team has rejected the results.

The UN has underscored the importance of an orderly process leading up to the announcement of the final results, which is due next month after the complaints are addressed.

Addressing the nation after the results, President Ghani said his ‘State-Builder’ electoral team would unite and rebuild the war-ravaged country. “We will connect and unite all Afghans. We will end the crisis and all divisions by building a responsible government,” said Ghani.

It took the IEC months to come up with the preliminary results amid allegations of fraud and technical glitches. Similarly troubled presidential polls in 2014 delivered a weak and divided National Unity Government under Ghani and Abdullah when the country was pushed to the edge of disorder amid withdrawal of some 100,000 foreign troops.