world Afghanistan: President Ghani's re-election already contested by rival Abdullah

Afghanistan: President Ghani’s re-election already contested by rival Abdullah

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The outgoing president was officially elected with 50.64% of the vote. His rival Abdullah Abdullah claims victory and will form his own government.

Outgoing President Ashraf Ghani was re-elected head of Afghanistan on Tuesday, according to final results immediately disputed by his rival, the unsuccessful candidate Abdullah Abdullah. The latter also claimed victory and announced that he would form his own government.

According to the final results announced by the Independent Electoral Commission, the outgoing president won with an absolute majority, with 50.64% of the vote. His main rival, chief executive Abdullah Abdullah, won only 39.52% of the vote.

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The latter, in another press conference, declared himself the winner of the ballot, describing the results as “a blow to democracy” and “national betrayal”. “Our team, based on clean biometric votes, has won (…). The fraudsters are the shame of history and we are announcing our rallying government,” said Abdullah Abdullah.

Taliban reject results

The outcome of the presidential election in September 2019 was announced Tuesday with three months of delay due in particular to the filing by the candidates of 16,500 complaints for irregularities. The reaction of Abdullah Abdullah raises fears of a repetition of the scenario of 2014, when he had already disputed the results of the election, marred by serious irregularities, which had led to a constitutional crisis.

Abdullah Abdullah is not the only one to oppose the re-election of Ashraf Ghani. Vice President Abdul Rashid Dostum, a powerful former warlord, had also threatened to form a parallel government in the event of “fraudulent” results. The Taliban, who have always opposed elections in Afghanistan, have also officially rejected the results.

Very low participation

Ashraf Ghani, who will likely face the Taliban if future intra-Afghan talks are to take place, however, said that the “arms” of his government were “open to all the people of Afghanistan”, including those insurgents. “We want the Taliban to participate in the elections,” he added.

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Washington continues to negotiate in parallel an agreement with the insurgents with a view to the withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan, in exchange in particular for security guarantees. If the Kabul government has so far been sidelined from the negotiating table, it must participate in intra-Afghan talks with the rebels, which are expected to open after the signing of an agreement between the Americans and the Taliban.

This presidential election was marked by a very low turnout, with 1.8 million votes taken into account by the IEC, out of a total of 9.6 million registered voters. Almost one million of the 2.7 million votes originally retained were cast aside for irregularities.

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