Karzai Heads For Single-round VictoryPosted: September 13, 2009
First Published: Sep. 12, 2009 – Islam Online
KABUL — Afghan President Hamid Karzai headed Saturday, September 12, for a single-round victory over his challengers in last month’s fraud-tainted presidential elections.
“There are no winners in this election yet,” Aleem Siddique, UN spokesman in Kabul, said.
With 92.8 percent of votes counted, Karzai secured 54.3 percent against 28.1 percent for his main rival Abdullah Abdullah, the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) announced at a press conference, reported Reuters.
Of 5,800,000 valid votes, Karzai had 3,009,559 against Abdullah’s 1,558,591.
Five percent have not been counted yet and another 2.15 percent had been quarantined for suspected irregularities, the IEC said.
The margin between Karzai and his rival Abdullah has barely changed since the last results were announced a week ago.
The IEC had intended to release full preliminary results 10 days ago, but the process has been bogged down by fraud allegations.
Fraud has become the watchword of the August 20 polls, with allegations swirling about massive fraud in Karzai’s favor.
Western diplomats and Afghan officials estimate that nearly 800 fake poll centers were set up on paper, from where hundreds of thousands of votes were counted for Karzai.
Nearly 800 legitimate polling stations were also taken over by Karzai’s supporters and used to fraudulently report thousands of additional votes for the West-backed leader.
Other 447 polling stations were canceled by ECC because of fraud.
The IEC said that no winner will be declared until all fraud allegations are investigated.
“Afghanistan’s election commission still has to conduct a partial recount from suspect districts,” said Siddique.
“The election commission is also required to annul returns from polling stations where there is clear evidence of irregularities, as ordered by the Electoral Complaints Commission.”
Election officials and UN observers have refused to put a timescale on the final result, as the investigations proceed and more recounts are likely.
“This election is far from over,” said UN spokesman Adrian Edwards.
“This has to be an outcome that faithfully reflects the will of the Afghan voters in this election and there is a lot of work still to go on and we can’t prejudge how long that will take.”
The US State Department and analysts have said it could take months to determine the results and probe the alleged irregularities.
The Afghan elections were seen as a key test of Western-backed efforts to bring stability to Afghanistan eight years after the US-led invasion.
But the fraud-tainted polls have sparked fears of further unrest in the war-torn country.
“People are scared and worried that Abdullah will call for protests,” Ahmad Ferdaus, a seller in Kabul, told Reuters of the opposition candidate Abdullah Abdullah.
“There is a sense of uncertainty that the government will not be able to control it.”