News / Asia

Afghan Presidential Election Goes to Runoff

Afghan presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah speaks during a news conference in Kabul, Afghanistan, Wednesday, May 14, 2014.
Afghan presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah speaks during a news conference in Kabul, Afghanistan, Wednesday, May 14, 2014.
Ayaz Gul
Official results from Afghanistan’s 2014 presidential election show none of the eight candidates won a majority in the first round, forcing the election commission to call for a June 14 runoff between the two top vote getters.

About seven million Afghans turned out to vote in the April 5 presidential election in which front runner Abdullah Abdullah officially received 45 percent of the total, while former finance minister Ashfraf Ghani finished second with nearly 32 percent.

While announcing the final results in Kabul, Independent Election Commission Chairman Ahmad Yousuf Nouristani said 64 percent of the voters were men and 36 percent women.  

He said after reviewing the decisions of the Electoral Complaint Commission, which adjudicates complaints, it is evident  none of the candidates received 51 percent of the votes.  Nouristani announced the election will go to a runoff on June 14 between Abdullah and Ghani.

He urged Afghan voters to ensure maximum participation, like they did in the first round.  The winner will replace outgoing President Hamid Karzai who is constitutionally barred from taking part in the election.  The political transition will be the first democratic transfer of power in the war-torn Afghanistan.

Despite serious security threats, the high turnout in the April 5 polls received global appreciation.  Observers like Kate Clark of the Kabul-based Afghanistan Analysts Network hope voters will demonstrate the same kind of interest and excitement in the runoff.

“If the Afghan people can get to the polls and if the two teams really do engage in a debate and do not defraud the public, then it is hugely important for Afghanistan and the next president will have a mandate to do what he wants. This country needs a lot of strength in the presidency both in terms of making reforms, dealing with the rampant corruption and dealing with the Taliban," said Clark. "And the better the elections the more legitimate the stronger his hands will be.”

The election commission says final results from the runoff will be announced July 22.  

In a statement issued Thursday, the head of the United Nations mission in Kabul praised Afghan candidates for running “a hard-fought, but positive campaign."  The United States also commended candidates and millions of Afghan men and women who went to the polls.  

American Ambassador to Afghanistan James Cunningham issued a statement, saying “the people of Afghanistan need a runoff election that is credible, inclusive and transparent.  He said the future of Afghanistan is for Afghans to determine and this election is a “truly historic opportunity”.

You May Like

Sunni-Shi’ite Divide Threatens Middle East Stability

Analysts say ancient dispute that traces back to Islamic Revolution is fueling modern day unrest More

Shifting Demographics Lie Beneath Racial Tensions in Ferguson

As Missouri suburb morphed from majority white to majority black, observers say power structure remained static More

Video Artists Shun Russia's Profanity Law

Restriction is toughest since Soviet era, though critics reject move as patronizing and ineffective act of censorship in line with a string of conservative morality laws More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Native Bees May Help Save Cropsi
X
Deborah Block
August 22, 2014 12:23 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video Native Bees May Help Save Crops

U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video US Defense Officials Plan for Long-Term Strategy to Contain Islamic State

U.S. defense officials say American air strikes in Iraq have helped deter Islamic State militants for the time being, but that a broad international effort is needed to defeat the extremists permanently. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warned Thursday that the group formerly known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, is better organized, and financially and militarily stronger than any other known terrorist group. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Drug-Resistant Malaria Spreads in Southeast Asia

On Thailand’s border with Myanmar, also known as Burma, a malaria research and treatment clinic is stepping up efforts to eliminate a drug-resistant form of the parasite - before it spreads abroad. Steve Sandford reports from Mae Sot, Thailand.
Video

Video Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbas

The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Nigeria's 'Nollywood' Movie Industry Rolls in High Gear

Twenty years after its birth in a video shop in Lagos, Nigeria's "Nollywood" is one of the most prolific film industries on earth. Despite low budgets and whirlwind production schedules, Nigerian films are wildly popular in Africa and industry professionals say they hope, in the future, their films will be as great in quality as they are in quantity. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Lagos.
Video

Video UN Launches 'Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years' in Iraq

The United Nations has launched what it describes as one of the biggest aid operations in 30 years in northern Iraq, as hundreds of thousands of refugees flee the extremist Sunni militant group calling itself the Islamic State. As Kurdish and Iraqi forces battle the Sunni insurgents, the fighting has forced more people to flee their homes. Kurdish authorities say the international community must act now to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Cambodian American Hip Hop Artist Sings of Personal Struggles

A growing underground movement of Cambodian American hip hop artists is rapping about the struggles of living in urban America. Most, if not all of them, are refugees or children of refugees who came to the United States from Cambodia to escape the Khmer Rouge genocide of the 1970s. Through their music, the artists hope to give voice to immigrants who have been struggling quietly for years. Elizabeth Lee reports from Long Beach, California.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid