Afghanistan Presidential Elections
The Afghanistan Presidential election was held on the 28th of September 2019. Despite serious security challenges and threats, Afghan security forces provided relative security to hold the elections, which fortunately had fewer casualties than expected. Nevertheless, a considerable number of our innocent people and security personnel were martyred and wounded. Participation of the people during the voting period was considerably low, resulting in an exceptionally low number of votes, which was likely to be around 1.5 million votes according to the recent news reports by Tolo News and TIFA. Moreover, late reports from the Elections Commission, which disclosed results from 2,597 polling stations, almost more than half of the 4,500 polling stations around the country, announced 1,051,800 votes overall, inclusive of 400k votes from the province of Kabul. Hence, it concludes ces. It is not likely for the actual votes to exceed 1.7 mi upon completing all votes from the remaining provincesllion. Despite the dangers, there is no doubt that Afghans have demonstrated their commitment to democracy in the best way. However, with their low level of participation in the election, Afghans had one clear message: they altered the elections to a referendum of dissatisfaction with Ghani and Abdullah and the current status quo. The Afghans have made it clear that the continuance of this state and prolongation of Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah is unacceptable to them and is against this situation’s extension. The low level of participation in the elections has placed it in a legitimate crisis where the reasons are as follows:
- In this election, the competition was among four leading candidates: Ghani, Abdullah, Hekmatyar, and Nabil.
- Assuming 1.7 million votes, we will have 300k votes for Hekmatyar, 150k votes for Nabil, and the remaining 1,250,000 votes split among Ghani and Abdullah.
- The competition between Ghani and Abdullah was close, with approximately 600k votes for one and 650k for the other.
- Assuming Ghani or Abdullah as the elected president of Afghanistan with only 650k votes, which clearly represents only 2% of the Afghan population.
– Would it be fair for one to declare himself in this way as the representative of the Afghan people?
– Would this mandate be able to negotiate with regards to peace with the Taliban strength-fully?
– Would this mandate be able to persuade the public and the international community?
– Would we be able to claim that we can have a strong government in Afghanistan?
– Is this really the 50 + 1 voting?
– Perhaps if elections go to round 2, would the situation be any better?
– Finally, was it necessary to spend 130 million dollars which came from the pockets of the poor Afghans and foreign taxpayers for such an election?
The answer to all these questions is a NO. On the other hand, there is a definite possibility of fraud before the elections by both leading candidates, Ghani and Abdullah, and before the elections by filling of ballot boxes or through a biometric server or the manipulation of numbers, wherein this case, the situation would be far worse than imagined. Hence, no party would accept the outcome in such a case, which will eventually lead to a serious confrontation among different parties, leading the future of the country to danger and ultimately to a civil war. This will initiate severe regional instability, where its effects will undoubtedly touch the world.
So, considering the very fragile and warlike situation in Afghanistan, the challenges ahead, and the situation in the region, we can conclude that the outcome of this election will be negative for democracy and Afghans and will add to their problems in the future. It would then lead Afghanistan into an uncontrollable crisis. But, on the other hand, the formation of such a weak government would be a betrayal to the people of Afghanistan and be a reason to place the international community in a challenging position. Therefore, before it’s too late, finding a genuine solution and seeking a reasonable solution is best.
At the earliest time, an unbiased candidate with a reputable name and acceptable to all parties, including the Taliban and the domestic politicians, should be appointed as the head of the Interim Government. At the same time, all other ministries and institutions continue to operate normally. Interim administration will appoint an authorized, strong, and competent team to participate during the Intra-Afghan Dialogue with the Taliban. With the commencement of the Intra-Afghan dialogue, the head of the interim government will announce a national ceasefire. A peace agreement will be signed – (between the US and the Taliban in the presence of representatives of regional countries and Peace Agreement guarantors) simultaneously as the Intra-Afghan dialogue occurs. As a result of the Intra-Afghan Dialogue, the interim administration head will announce the implementation of the peace process and the conclusion of the Intra-Afghan negotiations.