Preliminary results from Afghanistan’s September 28 presidential election are expected to be released today.
Under threat of election violence from the Taliban, voter turnout was at an all-time low of 28%. In addition to fears of the Taliban, decreased trust in the democratic process is likely to blame.
After ballot counting delays, approximately 700,000 votes will be discarded as they failed to meet criteria set out by the Independent Election Commission. This move could greatly affect outcomes and set up a strongly contested electoral challenge by the losing candidate.
Incumbent President Ashraf Ghani and his main challenger Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah each declared victory immediately after polls closed. Both men have also stated they will not accept defeat or a power-sharing arrangement.
A prolonged dispute between the two leaders is likely, given the uncertainty swirling around the election’s results. Indeed, a political crisis could result when official election results are released in coming weeks. An electoral challenge only stands to exacerbate political instability in one of the world’s most volatile countries.
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