Sunday, April 13, 2014

Abdullah Abdullah leads in Afghan (early) vote

After 500,000 (10%) votes have been tallied, Abdullah Abdullah (42%) is in the lead, closely followed by Dr Ashraf Ghani (38%). A run-off will take place if no candidate crosses 50% (likely).

Incidentally (and interestingly) AA is Pashtun (father) and Tajik (mother). Is this a hopeful sign (of national integration) or will the Pashtuns still find reasons to reject him (more Pashtuns favor Ghani)?
"Today we announce the partial results of 26 provinces with 10 per cent of votes counted, these include (provinces) in the north, south, east, west and Kabul," said Ahmad Yousuf Nuristani, the IEC chief. "With 500,000 votes from 26 provinces Dr Abdullah is leading with 41.9 per cent; Dr Ashraf Ghani has 37.6 per cent and is in second; and Zalmai Rassoul has 9.8 per cent in third position."

Of the eight provinces for which results have not been announced, two are in the north (Badakhshan and Baghlan) and two in the east (Nuristan and Paktika). The others are Daykundi in the centre, southern Ghazni and Wardak and the western province of Ghor.

Abdullah, who was born to an ethnic Pashtun father and a Tajik mother, is more associated with the northern ophthalmologist by training, came second in the 2009 election to current President Hamid Karzai, in a vote that was internationally denounced as fraudulent.

He was a resistance fighter against the Soviet occupation in the 1980s and was a close friend and adviser to Ahmad Shah Massoud, a revered Tajik leader who fought the Taliban during their 1996-2001 rule and was assassinated two days before the September 11, 2011 attacks on the United States.

Ghani is a former World Bank economist and globally renowned intellectual, who has shed some of his wonkish image during his current campaign and is more favoured by the country's majority Pashtuns.

Former physician Zalmai Rassoul, another Pashtun, was seen as Karzai's favourite — a charge which he denied.

All three pre-election favorites have pledged to protect women's rights, reach out for a peace deal with the Taliban and sign a bilateral security pact with the United States that would allow at least 10,000 troops to stay for the next ten years.


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