News

    Afghan Commission:  Karzai Leads in Preliminary Vote Tally

    Multimedia

    Audio
    Afghanistan's government-appointed Independent Election Commission has released what it calls "final but preliminary" results from the August 20 vote for president. The disputed returns show incumbent President Hamid Karzai with enough ballots to avoid a runoff with former Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah. But the controversy is far from over.

    The complete preliminary results show Afghan President Hamid Karzai with more than 54 percent of the votes and Abdullah Abdullah with less than 28 percent.

    Chief Electoral Officer Daoud Ali Najafi informed reporters of the vote totals.

    "Abdullah Abdullah has received 1,571,581 votes. Hamid Karzai has received 3,093,256 votes," he said.  

    The Abdullah campaign has complained for weeks that supporters of the president rigged the election, even at polling booths where Mr. Karzai had strong support. It is an allegation that has gained credence from neutral observers.

    The Election Complaints Commission has ordered a recount involving at least 10 percent of voting stations nationwide. The ECC, dominated by appointees of the United Nations, issued the order to the Afghan government's Election Commission following hundreds of what it deemed serious complaints of ballot box stuffing and other allegations of fraud.

    European Union election observers question the validity of about a third of the ballots, nearly 1.5 million. EU observers tell reporters in Kabul that under suspicion are some 1.1 million votes cast for Mr. Karzai and 300,000 ballots marked for Mr. Abdullah.

    President Karzai's campaign calls the EU observer team's comments "irresponsible." Karzai supporters say they are hoping that even after ballots deemed fraudulent are discarded the president will still have more than 50 percent of total votes to avoid a runoff election with Mr. Abdullah.

    The head of the EU observer team, Phillippe Morillon, says that in the mean time, the Karzai campaign should refrain from declaring victory.

    "Any claim for any count or of victory will be premature and not credible and will be premature due to the fact that the Afghan electoral law asks for the results to be authenticated at the end of the process," he said.

    But recounting and certifying the results are expected to take some weeks, if not longer.

    A runoff election is supposed to be held two weeks after the final results are certified. But a second round of balloting might not feasible if inclement weather sets in. That might leave Afghanistan with what many would view as an illegitimate government until the snow melts in April.  


    Steve Herman

    A veteran journalist, Steve Herman is VOA's Southeast Asia Bureau Chief and Correspondent, based in Bangkok.

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora