Afghan presidential election, 2014

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Afghan Presidential Election, 2014
Afghanistan
2009 ←
5 April 2014
14 June 2014

→ 2019

  Ashraf Ghani in 2004.jpg Abdullah Abdullah 2004-06-14-D-9880W-075.jpg
Nominee Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai Abdullah Abdullah
Party Independent National Coalition of Afghanistan
Running mate Abdul Rashid Dostum
Sarwar Danish
Mohammad Khan
Mohammad Mohaqiq

  Abdullah, absolute majority   Abdullah, relative majority   Ahmadzai, absolute majority   Ahmadzai, relative majority   Rassoul, absolute majority


President before election

Hamid Karzai
Independent

Elected President

TBD

Emblem of Afghanistan.svg
This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
Afghanistan
Foreign relations

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.[1] A total of 27 candidates were confirmed to be running for office.[2] However, on 22 October Afghanistan’s Independent Election Commission disqualified 16 of the candidates, leaving only 11 in the race.[3] 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[4] 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.[5]

The election would be the first time in Afghanistan's history that power will be democratically transferred.[6][7][8][9]

Procedure[edit]

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.[10]

Pakistan sealed its border with Afghanistan during the electoral period in order to reduce the chances of cross-border attacks.[11]

There have been reports of polling sites running out of ballot papers due to a high turnout.[12]

Candidates[edit]

A total of 27 candidates were confirmed to have submitted their nominations by Afghanistan's Independent Election Commission on 6 October 2013, the closing day of the nomination period.[2][13]

However, on 22 October Afghanistan’s Independent Election Commission disqualified 16 of the candidates, leaving only 11 in the race.[3] 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.[3]

On 25 November 2013, the Independent Election Commission announced the ordering of the candidate names for the election ballot as follows:[19]

Candidate Running mate Coalition Occupation Political spectrum
Fischer
Abdullah Abdullah in October 2009.jpg
Abdullah Abdullah
National Coalition
Mohammad Khan
Hezbi Islami
Mohammad Mohaqiq
Hizb-e Wahdat Islami Mardum-e Afghanistan
"National Coalition of Afghanistan"
(National Front, Jamiat-e Islami, NUPA)
Supported by
(Hezbi Islami, Hizb-e Wahdat Islami Mardum-e Afghanistan, Yunus Qanuni, Atta Muhammad Nur[20])
Politician. Former Foreign Minister. Islamic democracy, Reform
Fischer
Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai in July 2011-cropped.jpg
Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai
Independent
Abdul Rashid Dostum
National Islamic Movement
Sarwar Danish
Hizb-e Wahdat Islami Afghanistan
None
Supported by
(National Solidarity Party of Afghanistan, Afghan Mellat, National Islamic Front, Sayed Mansoor Naderi, Milli Nijat Party),[21][22])
Politician. Former Finance Minister. Reform
Pro-BSA[23]
Fischer
Afghan Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr. Zalmai Rassoul crop.jpg
Zalmai Rassoul
Independent
Ahmad Zia Massoud
Jamiat-e Islami
Habiba Sarobi
Truth and Justice
None
Supported by
(Quayum Karzai, Abdul Rahim Wardak, Sardar Mohammad Nadir Naeem, Hezb-e-Islami Shura Alliance,[24] Hezbi Islami of Waheedullah Sabaoon[25])
Politician. Former Foreign Minister. Centrism
Fischer
عبدالرب رسول سياف.jpg
Abdul Rasul Sayyaf
Islamic Dawa
Mohammad Ismail Khan
Jamiat-e Islami
Abdul Wahab Urfan Erfan
Independent
Politician. Wahhabi Islamism
Fischer
Gul Agha.jpg
Gul Agha Sherzai
Independent
Sayed Hussain Alimi Balkhi
Independent
Mohammad Hashim Zare
Independent
Politician. Former Governor of Nangarhar.
Fischer
QtHilal.jpg
Qutbuddin Hilal
Independent
Enayatullah Enayat
Independent
Mohammad Ali Nabizada
Independent
None
Supported by
(Hezb-e Islami Gulbuddin[26])
Politician. Former Deputy Prime Minister. Former member of Hezbi Islami. Conservative Islamism
Fischer
Mohammad Daud Sultanzoy
Independent
Ahmad Saeedi
Independent
Kazima Mohaqiq
Independent
Politician.
Fischer
Hedayat Amin Arsala speaking in July 2011-cropped.jpg
Hidayat Amin Arsala
Independent
Gen. Khudaidad
Independent
Safia Seddiqi
Independent
Politician, Economist, Former Finance and Foreign Minister.
Withdrawn Candidates
Fischer
Quayum Karzai
Independent
Wahidullah Shahrani
Independent
Ibrahim Qasmi
Independent
Withdrew and supported Rassoul
Politician & Businessman. Reform
Pro-Western[27]
Fischer
Abdul Rahim Wardak, Dec. 17, 2011.jpg
Abdul Rahim Wardak
Independent
Shah Abdul Ahad Afzali
Independent
Sayed Hussein Anwari
Islamic Movement
Withdrew and supported Rassoul[25]
Politician. Former Minister of Defence.
Fischer
Sardar Mohammad Nadir Naeem
Independent
Taj Mohammad Akbar
Independent
Azizullah Puya
Independent
Withdrew and supported Rassoul[28]
Secretary to former King of Afghanistan.

Declined to run[edit]

Campaign[edit]

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.[33]

Debates[edit]

TOLOnews have hosted several debates between the Presidential candidates.

First Debate[edit]

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.[34][35]

Second Debate[edit]

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."[36]

Third Debate[edit]

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.[37]

Opinion polls[edit]

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.[38] 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.[39]

Poll source Date(s) administered Sample size Abdullah Abdullah
National Coalition
Mohammad Daud Sultanzoy
Independent
Abdul Rahim Wardak
Independent
Quayum Karzai
Independent
Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai
Independent
Sardar Mohammad Nadir Naeem
Independent
Zalmai Rassoul
Independent
Qutbuddin Hilal
Independent
Gul Agha Sherzai
Independent
Abdul Rab Rasoul Sayyaf
Islamic Dawa
Hidayat Amin Arsala
Independent
None Lead
Glevum[38][40] December, 2013 2,148 25% 1% 5% 8% 29% 1% 6% 2% 4% 6% <0.5% 11% 4
Democracy International[38][41] December, 2013 2,500 31% 13% 25% - 10% 6
Tolo News[42] 11–21 December 2013 2,063 27% 0.4% 4% 19% 0.1% 7% 8
Tolo News[43] 8–12 October 2013 1,300 21% 0.8% 5.7% 13.6% 0.9% 1.1% 3.4% 50% 7.4
2013
Election Results 20 Aug 2009 4,597,727 30.59% - - 2.94% 0.05%
2014
Election Results 5 April 2014 6,604,546 45.00% 0.46% - 31.56% 11.37% 2.75% 1.57% 7.04% 0.23%

Results[edit]

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.[44] Nearly two-thirds of the Afghan population were under the age of 25.[45]

No candidate secured more than the 50% of the vote, so there was a second round run-off on 14 June.[12] Preliminary results for the second round were due on 2 July, but were delayed to 7 July, and final results are due 22 July.[46] 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
Votes % Votes %
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
Zalmai Rassoul Independent 750,997 11.37
Abdul Rasul Sayyaf Islamic Dawa 465,207 7.04
Qutbuddin Hilal Independent 181,827 2.75
Gul Agha Sherzai Independent 103,636 1.57
Mohammad Daud Sultanzoy Independent 30,685 0.46
Hedayat Amin Arsala Independent 15,506 0.23
Invalid/blank votes
Total 6,604,546 100 7,947,527 100
Registered votes/turnout
Source: IEC IEC

By province[edit]

Results of the first round:
  Abdullah, absolute majority
  Abdullah, relative majority
  Ahmadzai, absolute majority
  Ahmadzai, relative majority
  Rassoul, absolute majority
Province Abdullah Abdullah Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai
Votes % Votes %
Kabul 389,584 49.62 248,220 31.62
Kapisa 52,544 78.81 2,745 4.12
Parwan 107,478 71.80 8,395 5.61
Wardak 36,253 36.37 15,064 15.11
Logar 6,169 18.65 20,953 63.35
Ghazni 194,264 54.01 68,328 19.00
Paktika 19,097 10.55 118,089 65.21
Paktia 13,610 5.37 157,826 62.32
Khost 4,040 3.57 83,691 74.01
Nangarhar 63,689 19.00 200,409 59.80
Kunar 13,257 12.35 69,545 64.76
Laghman 8,495 10.4 40,673 49.82
Nooristan 23,234 37.64 9,001 14.58
Badakhshan 191,260 64.85 42,548 14.43
Takhar 159,375 50.35 121,100 38.25
Baghlan 152,560 60.14 51,953 20.48
Kunduz 100,413 47.05 80,893 37.91
Samangan 86,845 61.33 37,632 26.58
Balkh 238,582 60.92 109,694 28.01
Juzjan 29,375 19.94 101,985 69.23
Sar-i-Pul 74,711 50.41 57,097 38.53
Faryab 77,633 29.31 173,225 65.39
Badghis 86,620 67.52 12,577 9.8
Herat 301,364 61.15 54,618 11.08
Farah 18,029 31.78 22,708 40.03
Nimroz 9,674 20.88 15,562 33.59
Helmand 17,905 17.29 34,110 32.94
Kandahar 26,500 10.61 34,698 13.9
Zabul 3,856 18.93 7,782 38.19
Urozgan 5,317 23.8 6,022 26.95
Ghor 180,446 59.51 39,698 13.09
Bamyan 113,324 67.93 18,427 11.05
Panjshir 37,925 87.29 166 0.38
Daikondi 128,713 75.05 19113 11.14
Total 2,972,141 2,084,547
Source: Mutazilah IEC

Security concerns[edit]

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.[47] The 2014 presidential elections is the first year Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) have taken the lead for such an event.[48]

An Afghan National Army (ANA) soldier, assigned to the 215th Corps, stands next to an ANA Humvee while guarding the Operational Coordination Center- Regional (OCC-R) during the Afghan presidential elections, as a sandstorm approaches, aboard Camp Shorabak, Helmand province, Afghanistan, April 5, 2014. (Official U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Darien J. Bjorndal, Marine Expeditionary Brigade Afghanistan/ Not Released)

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.[49]

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.[50] 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.[51]

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.[52] The Taliban is said to have gathered hundreds of fighters in a bid of overtaking this region, amidst the U.S. withdrawal.[53]

Allegations of fraud[edit]

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.[54] Abudullah accused President Hamid Karzai of conspiring in the rigging of the elections.[55]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]