Afghan Presidential Candidates Warn of Poll Result Credibility

All the six candidates of Afghanistan presidential elections, including one being projected as potential “chief executive” for the next government have warned of allegations of fraudulence in polls threatening to undermine the recent elections and likely to cause violence.

The statement of candidates came hours before partial result of polls is scheduled to be declared. However, a presidential spokesman assured that government was prepared to respond to any post-election unrest.

The apprehensions expressed by candidates are grounded on low voter turnout and allegations of fraud. Supporters of former Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah, some suspect, may go berserk he ends up second with no chance at a runoff, which may result if no candidate finish up winning more than 50 per cent of the vote.

Dozens of complains, noted the statement, have been lodged that could have a bearing on the result of the elections, “to the point that many are seriously questioning the legitimacy and credibility of the results.”

“Fraud in the elections could result in increased tension and violence,” the candidates said in their statement. They said “their questions must be answered” by the elections commission and international observers.

The signatories to the statement were all longshot candidates, the most prominent of whom is Ashraf Ghani, a Western-educated former finance minister who has been suggested as a “chief executive” under the next president tasked with handling day-to-day management of the government.

In the meanwhile, international observers and the country’s Independent Election Commission have asked candidates to refrain from declaring victory and stoking tensions so soon after the vote. The commission was to release partial results later Tuesday, but official, final results aren’t expected for weeks.

Nonetheless, Abdullah has accused incumbent President Hamid Karzai of widespread rigging, including ballot-stuffing and voter intimidation. Karzai’s camp has leveled similar accusations.

Both campaigns have denied any involvement in fraud or intimidation.

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