Afghan presidential election, 2014
|This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
Presidential Elections were held in Afghanistan on 5 April 2014, with a second round held on 14 June. Incumbent President Hamid Karzai was not eligible to run due to term limits. The registration period for presidential nominations was open from 16 September 2013 until 6 October 2013. A total of 27 candidates were confirmed to be running for office. However, on 22 October Afghanistan’s Independent Election Commission disqualified 16 of the candidates, leaving only 11 in the race. By April 2014 three candidates gave up the race and decided to support some of the eight remaining candidates. Opinion polls showed Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani as the front-runners and indeed the results of the first round election had Abdullah in the lead and Ghani behind him. The results of the second round election will determine the new leader of Afghanistan. The second set of results will come after the run-off on 14 June, two months after the first round. Preliminary results are expected on 2 July and the final result on 22 July. However, widespread accusations of fraud are likely to delay these results.
On 17 July 2013, the Parliament of Afghanistan passed a pair of election laws considered crucial to holding the election on time; President Karzai signed one and was expected to sign the other quickly. The first law to be signed lays out the composition and rules for Afghanistan’s election commission and a separate commission to adjudicate complaints about voter fraud and other irregularities. The other one governs how the vote will be held.
Pakistan sealed its border with Afghanistan during the electoral period in order to reduce the chances of cross-border attacks.
There have been reports of polling sites running out of ballot papers due to a high turnout.
- Abdullah Abdullah, former Minister of Foreign Affairs, leader of National Coalition of Afghanistan, presidential candidate in 2009
- Dil Agha Kohdamani
- Ishaq Gailani
- Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai, former Minister of Finance
- Hashmat Ghani Ahmadzai
- Qutbuddin Hilal
- Quayum Karzai, brother of current President Hamid Karzai, businessman and politician
- Fazil Karim Najmi
- Zalmai Rassoul, former Minister of Foreign Affairs
- Abdul Rasul Sayyaf
- Bismillah Sher, leader of the Wefaq Millie Party
- Abdul Rahim Wardak, former Minister of Defense
However, on 22 October Afghanistan’s Independent Election Commission disqualified 16 of the candidates, leaving only 11 in the race. The different candidates were disqualified for a number of reasons, among them were education levels, documentation and the number of required signatures. The disqualified candidates had 20 days to appeal the decision and the Independent Election Commission was due to present the final list of confirmed candidates on 19 November 2013.
On 25 November 2013, the Independent Election Commission announced the ordering of the candidate names for the election ballot as follows:
Declined to run
- Sarwar Ahmedzai
- Mohammad Hanif Atmar
- Ali Ahmad Jalali
- Zalmay Khalilzad
- Fawzia Koofi 
- Mohammad Mohaqiq
- Atta Muhammad Nur
- Mullah Omar
- Mohammad Yunos Qanuni
- Ghulam Farooq Wardak
- Mirwais Yasini
On 6 March 2014 Quayum Karzai ended his bid for the presidency, and instead announced his support for Zalmai Rassoul. Due to the lateness of his announcement Karzai's name still appeared on the ballot paper, however Karzai told supporters to vote for Rassoul instead. Two other candidates - Sardar Mohammad Nadir Naeem and Abdul Rahim Wardak - did the same thing to create a strong Pashtun ticket.
TOLOnews have hosted several debates between the Presidential candidates.
The first debate took place on 4 February 2014 and included five candidates; Abdullah Abdullah, Qayoum Karzai, Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai, Zalmai Rassoul, and Abdul Rahmi Wardak. The debate focused on the issues of security, the economy, and corruption.
The second debate took place on 18 February 2014 and included four candidates; Daoud Sultanzoy, Mohammad Nader Naeem, Hedayat Amin Arsala, and Qotbuddin Helal. As with the first debate, the second debate focused on the issues of security, the economy, and corruption.
On the issue of security Arsala emphasised the need for better cooperation between the various Afghan security agencies. Sultanzoy focused on the issue of a lack of motivation and high desertions in the Afghan security forces. Naeem emphasised the need to combat insecurity by providing better services.
On the issue of peace negotiations with the Taliban Naeem argued that certain parts of the Taliban want peace and could be compromised with. Sultanzoy argued that the Taliban was a tool of foreign intelligence agencies, and that in order to marginalize the Taliban the Afghan people needed to unite behind a unifying goal. Hilal argued that the Taliban was a diverse group, with certain members being driven by poverty, whilst others were "agents of intelligence agencies." Hilal argued that the former parts could and should be negotiated with. Arsala argued that if the Taliban embraced politics, instead of violence, that they could be given a "chair in the cabinet."
Sultanzoy also argued that corruption was resulting in poverty, and that increases in pensions and salaries could be afforded through a reduction in corruption. Arsala also focused on the issue of corruption, arguing that "government administration overall must be reformed." Hilal advocated reducing corruption through a mixture of better policing and the digitizing of government records. Naeem argued that corruption was a major issue for the Afghan bureaucracy, and had increased over the past 12 years. He argued that as an issue it must be dealt with from the top down.
Hilal also argued that whilst women should be educated and involved in society, this should be done "within the limits of Sharia." Naeem argued that Afghan constitution and Afghan democracy had been achieved in a way in line with Islam. Sultanzoy argued that Afghanistan had made great sacrifices for democracy, and that equal rights under the law must be ensured. Arsala advocated an "independent, developed and Muslim Afghanistan."
The third debate took place on 4 March 2014 and included three candidates; Abdullah Abdullah, Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai, and Zalmai Rassoul. The debate focused on foreign policy. On the issue of the Durand Line, both Rassoul and Abdullah argued that the Afghan government alone cannot decide on the issue of the Durand Line, but that instead policy must be set according to the will of the people. Ahmadzai however argued that the issue of the Durand Line cannot be discussed if the conditions are not right.
All three candidates expressed their support for the Bilateral Security Agreement. On the subject of the zero-option, whereby the United States would fully pull out of Afghanistan, Rassoul argued that Afghanistan would still be in a position to accept international aid. Ahmadzai argued against the zero-option, stating that Afghan remained dangerous, but that Afghanistan would likely be stable by the end of the decade. Abdullah attacked Karzai's opposition to the zero-option, claiming that the danger of a zero-option had been caused by Karzai's "unbalanced and emotional decisions."
All three candidates accused Pakistan of aiding the Taliban. Abdullah claimed that Pakistan used the Taliban "as a tool for foreign policy." Rassoul argued that when discussing the issue a distinction had to be made between the Pakistani government and the Pakistani people, and that the Pakistani people "have been friends to the people of Afghanistan." Ahmadzai argued that extremism posed a threat to both countries, but that Afghan sovereignty had to be maintained, and that the Afghan government had to prevent Pakistan from destabilizing Afghanistan through proxies.
The 2014 election has been the first election in Afghanistan to make use of opinion polling. A December 2013 poll by Glevum was the first of nine planned polls funded by the United States. The polls were to be conducted by three different companies, with the United States paying for them due to Afghan institutions lacking the ability and funding to conduct the polling themselves. Following the publication of a subsequent Democracy Institute poll some Afghan electoral authorities and candidate supporters alleged the polling had been biased. As response the United States cancelled funding for any further polling in order to avoid any perception of bias.
|Poll source||Date(s) administered||Sample size||Abdullah Abdullah
|Mohammad Daud Sultanzoy
|Abdul Rahim Wardak
|Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai
|Sardar Mohammad Nadir Naeem
|Gul Agha Sherzai
|Abdul Rab Rasoul Sayyaf
|Hidayat Amin Arsala
|Democracy International||December, 2013||2,500||31%||–||–||13%||25%||–||–||–||-||10%||–||–||6|
|Tolo News||11–21 December 2013||2,063||27%||0.4%||–||4%||19%||–||–||–||–||–||0.1%||7%||8|
|Tolo News||8–12 October 2013||1,300||21%||–||0.8%||5.7%||13.6%||–||0.9%||–||1.1%||3.4%||–||50%||7.4|
|Election Results||20 Aug 2009||4,597,727||30.59%||-||–||-||2.94%||–||–||–||–||–||0.05%|
|Election Results||5 April 2014||6,604,546||45.00%||0.46%||–||-||31.56%||–||11.37%||2.75%||1.57%||7.04%||0.23%|
The preliminary results were announced on 26 April and were finalised on 15 May. About 12 million Afghans were registered to vote in the country and about 8 million members of Afghan diaspora were also eligible to vote. Nearly two-thirds of the Afghan population were under the age of 25.
No candidate secured more than the 50% of the vote, so there was a second round run-off on 14 June. Preliminary results for the second round were due on 2 July, but were delayed to 7 July, and final results are due 22 July. The results are likely going to be delayed, causing the July 2 deadline to be missed, as the result of fraud accusations according to the Independent Election Commission's spokesperson Noor Mohammad Noor.
The results are summarized below.
|Candidate||Nominating party||First round||Second round|
|Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai||Independent||2,084,547||31.56||4,485,888||56.44|
|Abdullah Abdullah||National Coalition||2,972,141||45.00||3,461,639||43.56|
|Abdul Rasul Sayyaf||Islamic Dawa||465,207||7.04|
|Gul Agha Sherzai||Independent||103,636||1.57|
|Mohammad Daud Sultanzoy||Independent||30,685||0.46|
|Hedayat Amin Arsala||Independent||15,506||0.23|
|Source: IEC IEC|
|Province||Abdullah Abdullah||Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai|
|Source: Mutazilah IEC|
On April 7, 2014, a roadside bomb was detonated in the Maywand District when a van drove over it, killing all 13 people on board. Some suspected the Taliban were responsible, though the group blamed international forces for the attack. The 2014 presidential elections is the first year Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) have taken the lead for such an event.
On June 6, 2014, candidate Abdullah Abdullah narrowly survived an assassination attempt. In the attack, suicide bombers targeted his armored car, severely damaging the vehicle and killed three of his bodyguards as well as three bystanders. Abdullah escaped largely unscathed, strongly condemning the attack while commenting, "the best response to this conspiracy is to go to vote on election day." No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, though the Taliban has previously threatened to violently disrupt the electoral process.
On July 1, 2014, Afghan security forces seized weapons, ammunitions and explosives and killed around 27 taliban during operations in Kunar, Kunduz, Badakhshan, Balkh, Zabul and Helmand provinces. The next day, a suicide bomber riding a bicycle targeted a vehicle of the Afghan National Army (ANA) at around 6.30 a.m. in which 14 people, including civilians were killed.
The Afghan Intelligence – National Directorate of Security (NDS) Chief, Rahmatulllah Nabil accused Pakistan's ISI and Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) of escalating clashes in the Helmand Province. The Taliban is said to have gathered hundreds of fighters in a bid of overtaking this region, amidst the U.S. withdrawal.
Allegations of fraud
In July, certain allegations regarding fraudulent practices in the voting process emerged. The European Union sent 6 observers in Kabul, Balkh and Herat provinces. Thijs Berman, head of the EU election assessment team, called for an in-depth review of the electoral fraud claims and said that necessary steps will be taken to clean it. Abudullah accused President Hamid Karzai of conspiring in the rigging of the elections.
- "Dr. Zalmai Rasoul nominated for 2014 presidential elections". 6 October 2013. Retrieved 2014-02-03.
- Bailey Cahall (7 October 2013). "27 candidates enter race for Afghanistan's 2014 presidential election". Foreign Policy. Retrieved 2014-02-03.
- Ali M Latifi (22 October 2013). "Sixteen Afghan election hopefuls disqualified". Al Jazeera. Retrieved 2014-02-03.
- "Polling Comes to Afghanistan, Suggesting Limit to Sway of President Karzai". NewYorkTimes. 28 December 2013. Retrieved 2014-02-07.
- "Huge security as Afghan presidential election looms". BBC. April 4, 2014.
- "Afghanistan votes in historic presidential election". BBC. 5 April 2014.
- Shalizi and Harooni, Hamid and Mirwais (April 4, 2014). "Landmark Afghanistan Presidential Election Held Under Shadow of Violence". Huffington Post.
- "Afghanistan's Future: Who's Who in Pivotal Presidential Election". NBC News.
- Rosenburg, Matthew (17 July 2013). "With New Law, Afghanistan Moves Closer to an Election". New York Times. Retrieved 2014-02-03.
- "Pakistan seals borders for Afghan polls – The Express Tribune". tribune.com.pk. Retrieved 2014-04-06.
- "Afghanistan election: Millions vote in presidential poll". 5 April 2014. Retrieved 2014-04-05.
- "Complete List of Registered Presidential Tickets". Tolo News. 7 October 2013. Retrieved 2014-02-03.
- Jennifer Glasse (1 October 2013). "Afghan deja vu: Abdullah to run for president". Al Jazeera. Retrieved 2014-02-03.
- Saleha Sadat (5 October 2013). "Five New Candidates Register for Presidential Elections". Tolo News. Retrieved 2014-02-03.
- "Afghan ex-finance minister Ghani to run for president". Fox News. 30 September 2013. Retrieved 2014-02-03.
- Ali M. Latifi (5 October 2013). "Hashmat Ghani: Quiet storm of the Afghan vote". Al Jazeera. Retrieved 2014-02-03.
- Saleha Sadat (3 October 2013). "Sayyaf Files Nomination for Presidency". Tolo News. Retrieved 2014-02-03.
- Majidy, Sayed Tariq (3 February 2014). "Presidential Names Ordered for Ballot". Tolo News. Retrieved 2013-11-26.
- "Afghan Election Frontrunners - WSJ.com". online.wsj.com. Retrieved 2014-04-06.
- "3 major groups pledge support to Ghani | Pajhwok Election site". elections.pajhwok.com. Retrieved 2014-04-06.
- "Syed Mansoor Naderi supports Ashraf Ghani in presidential elections - Khaama Press (KP) | Afghan News Agency". khaama.com. Retrieved 2014-04-06.
- "Dr. Ashraf Ghani renews commitment to sign Afghan-US security agreement - Khaama Press (KP) | Afghan News Agency". khaama.com. Retrieved 2014-04-06.
- "Hezb-e-Islami Shura Alliance to Support Rassoul". tolonews.com. Retrieved 2014-04-06.
- "Abdul Rahim Wardak announces coalition with Zulmai Rassoul - Ariana News". ariananews.af. Retrieved 2014-06-28.
- "Hezb-e-Islami Endorses Helal in Presidential Election". tolonews.com. Retrieved 2014-04-06.
- "Q&A With Afghan Presidential Candidate Qayum Karzai - WSJ.com". online.wsj.com. Retrieved 2014-04-06.
- "Nadir Naeem Withdraws in Favor of Zalmai Rassoul | .:: Elections 2014 ::.". tolonews.com. Retrieved 2014-06-28.
- Saboory, Hamid M. (3 June 2013). "Elections 2014: Afghan-style". Foreign Policy. Retrieved 2014-02-03.
- Ashley Fantz (19 June 2012). "In Afghanistan, a mother bravely campaigns for president". CNN.
- "Karzai: Taliban leader can run for the Afghan presidency in 2014". RT. 3 April 2013. Retrieved 2014-02-03.
- "Afghan politicians seek steps now for fair election". USA Today (Kabul). 14 December 2012. Retrieved 2014-02-03.
- "Afghan president's brother withdraws from election race | World news | The Guardian". theguardian.com. Retrieved 2014-04-06.
- "Five Presidential Candidates Take Part in First TV Debate". tolonews.com. Retrieved 2014-04-06.
- "Historic Debate Put Policy First, Showed Growth in Afghan Democracy". tolonews.com. Retrieved 2014-04-06.
- "Four Presidential Candidates Take Part in Second TV Debate". tolonews.com. Retrieved 2014-04-06.
- "Presidential Candidates Debate Foreign Policy". tolonews.com. Retrieved 2014-04-06.
- "Polling Comes to Afghanistan, Suggesting Limit to Sway of President Karzai". New York Times (Kabul). 28 December 2013.
- "U.S. cancels funds for Afghan opinion polls ahead of election". Reuters. 31 January 2014.
- "Glevum Afghanistan Presidential Election 2014 Wave One Survey Findings20 pdf". Retrieved 2014-04-08.
- "Abdullah Leads New Poll". tolonews.com. Retrieved 2014-04-06.
- "New Survey Reveals Frontrunners for Presidential Bid | .:: Elections 2014 ::.". tolonews.com. Retrieved 2014-04-06.
- "Initial Election Polling Reveals Three Favorites". tolonews.com. Retrieved 2014-04-06.
- Najafizada, Eltaf (2014-04-04). "Afghans Risk Lives to Vote in First Democratic Election Since 2001". Bloomberg. Retrieved 2014-04-08.
- John Wendle. "Afghanistan elections: Youth voters 'vital' - Features". Al Jazeera English. Retrieved 2014-04-08.
- "BBC News - Afghan election: Taliban 'removed voters' fingers'". bbc.com. Retrieved 2014-06-28.
- Khan, Mirwais (7 April 2014). "Roadside bomb kills 15 people in Afghanistan". Boston Globe. Retrieved 2014-04-07.
- "Marines.mil - Photos". marines.mil. Retrieved 2014-06-28.
- Graham-Harrison, Emma. "Afghan presidential election candidate survives assassination attempt". the Guardian. Retrieved 2014-06-07.
|Wikinews has related news: Afghans go to the polls|