Afghanistan‘s long-delayed results from its presidential elections will be announced within three to four days, an election commission official said, nearly five months after polls were held in the country.
In December, the election commission announced that incumbent President Ashraf Ghani had won a slim majority of 50.64 percent in the September 28 poll. His closest rival, Abdullah Abdullah, alleged vote-rigging, forcing a recount.
“The recounting and auditing is completed,” Zabihullah Sadaat, spokesman for Afghanistan’s Independent Election Commission, said.
The delay has left Afghanistan facing a political crisis just as the United States seeks a deal with the Taliban that would allow it to withdraw troops in return for various security guarantees and a promise that the armed group would hold peace talks with the Afghan government.
If all goes well, then whoever wins the election is likely to be the man sitting across from the Taliban at the negotiating table in a bid to chart Afghanistan’s future.
Whether the results will be accepted remains to be seen.
Earlier this week, Abdullah’s team said they would not accept fraudulent results.
Current Vice President Abdul Rashid Dostum, a powerful Uzbek former strongman and Abdullah’s ally, has also threatened to form a parallel government if fraudulent election results are announced.
Nearly one million of the initial 2.7 million votes were purged owing to irregularities, meaning the election saw by far the lowest turnout of any Afghan poll.
Ultimately, only 1.8 million votes were counted – a tiny number given Afghanistan’s estimated population of 35 million and a total of 9.6 million registered voters.
Abdullah lost to Ghani in 2014 in a divisive election that saw the US intervene to broker an awkward power-sharing deal between the two rivals.