The Challenging Election Run-off
As expected, the presidential elections will go into a run-off round between the two front-runner candidates – Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai. According to the full preliminary results of the elections, Abdullah is in the lead with about 44.9 of the votes and Ashraf Ghani follows him with more than 31 percent of the votes. Based on elections timeline, the candidates will have about two weeks to take their complaints to the Electoral Complaints Commission, after which the final results of the elections will be announced. The elections of Afghanistan go into a second round while the country is facing increasing challenges.
Given the situation in Afghanistan in terms of security, economic and political sensitivity, holding a second of the elections would be a heavy burden for the country. The Independent Elections Commission and Electoral Complaints Commissions will face daunting challenges in conduction of the second round of the elections. A major challenge is the budget needed for the elections. The two-round elections will cost hugely for Afghanistan and the government will struggle to finance the process. Given the decreasing funding from the international community, the IEC will face financial constraints.
The challenges ahead are numerous and many. The most challenging problem ahead for the elections is the security situation of the country given that the Taliban militants have vowed to disrupt the ongoing election process. Though the Taliban militants failed to organize a high-profile offensive in the country on the day of the elections, they are resolved to continue attacking on election workers, the candidates’ campaign gatherings and polling stations. The same as the first round, the second round of the elections will require a large-scale security operation to foil Taliban attempts targeting polling stations and the voters.
On the other hand, the situation is particularly intensified by the highly sensitive political situation in the country with ethnic divisions dividing parts of the country from each other. Due to ethnic alignment of the polls and array of the key political players based on ethnic politics, the second round of the elections will be further polarized among key ethnicities. This, in turn, will result to heated political situation in the country which leaves the country vulnerable to ethnic divisions. A very crucial issue for the elections is whether the main contenders of the elections accept the result of the process.
In recent weeks, the two main contenders of the elections have traded counter-allegations and made victory announcements which hint that their allegiance to the democratic principles may be very narrow. In the second round of the elections, the situation could easily worsen and the loser of the two main rivals may refuse to accept the results of the elections. All these challenges suggest that the country needs to be fully prepared for all sorts of unexpected events and challenges and be ready to deal with all types of confusions and irregularities. However, the whole election process is founding a new political tradition in peaceful transition of powers to next government. Afghans need to go through the process fully and with no compromise so that they will again make a success for the future of the country.