The results for Afghanistan's presidential runoff are coming in, and there's fraud, ethnic tension and a murky future for the county's leadership — par for the course as far as Afghan elections go.
The preliminary results put Ashraf Ghani, a former Afghan finance minister and World Bank official, in the lead with 56.4% of the vote. First round voting on April 5 had put Ghani in second place behind his main rival, Abdullah Abdullah. (Via Deutsch Welle, CNN)
A former foreign minister for Afghanistan, Abdullah was unsatisfied with the June 14 runoff election process and claimed that fraud such as ballot stuffing had tainted the vote. He blamed both the country's Independent Election Commission and outgoing President Hamid Karzai. (Via Mitra News)
The latest results, originally due on July 2, were delayed while some 1,900 polling stations had their results recounted. Abdullah welcomed the delay saying, "Almost everybody now agrees there has been industrial-scale fraud." (Via Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty)
The United Nations, who Abdullah has previously asked to intervene in the election, applauded the additional audit saying that it'd "enhance the transparency, neutrality and impartiality of the electoral process."
But, even with the recounts, Abdullah's camp continues to cry foul and has refused to recognize the numbers put out by the IEC. Fortunately, they seem willing to negotiate.
According to The Washington Post, an IEC chairman has said that both Abdullah and Ghani have agreed to UN-backed criteria that allow 7,000 more polling centers — or about 3 million votes — to be inspected for fraud.
And the sooner the audit finishes, the better. There are worries that if the election becomes any more contentious tensions could start spilling over into ethnic violence.
Ghani, an ethnic Pashtun draws his support from the country's Pashtun majority, while Abdullah, who is mixed Tajik and Pashtun, draws considerable support from the Tajik and Uzbek minorities. (Via TED, VICE)
The Telegraph says, with the claims of fraud, Abdullah supporters "including a clutch of warlords, are threatening to divide Afghanistan along ethnic lines."
Final election results are now due July 22 with a candidate expected to be named on August 2.