Ghani secures 2nd term as Afghan president

AFP
February 19, 2020

KABUL: Ashraf Ghani has secured a second term as president of Afghanistan, according to final results announced Tuesday, lining him up to become the man negotiating with the Taliban over the...

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KABUL: Ashraf Ghani has secured a second term as president of Afghanistan, according to final results announced Tuesday, lining him up to become the man negotiating with the Taliban over the war-torn country´s future if the US agrees to withdraw its troops.

The results came nearly five months after the September 28, 2019 poll, after vote-rigging allegations by Ghani´s main rival, Abdullah Abdullah, who served as Afghanistan´s chief executive, forced a recount.

Election commission Chief Hawa Alam Nuristani said Ghani had taken 50.64 percent of the votes, compared to Abdullah´s 39.52 percent. “May God help him in serving the people of Afghanistan. I also pray that peace comes to our country,” she added at a press conference in the capital Kabul.

Abdullah´s team was quick to dismiss the final count, however. “The results announced by the commission have no legitimacy,” Abdullah´s election campaign spokesman Faraidoon Khwazoon said shortly after the announcement.

When asked about what Abdullah´s team planned to do next, he said they had “many options” and would “firmly stand against the injustice”.

Abdullah lost to Ghani in 2014 in a divisive election that saw his supporters hold violent demonstrations before the US finally intervened to broker an awkward power-sharing deal between the two rivals.

Current vice-president Abdul Rashid Dostum, a powerful Uzbek former warlord and Abdullah´s ally, has also threatened to form a parallel government if fraudulent election results are announced.

This time, however, the US is unlikely to give Abdullah or his allies much support.

The final results come just as Washington seeks a deal with the Taliban which would allow it to withdraw troops in return for various security guarantees and a promise that the militants would hold peace talks with the Afghan government.



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