Sonntag, 6. April 2014

Afghan Elections (2): an enthusiastic vote

„Afghanistan presidential election hit by unexpected problem – too many voters“, the British Guardian writes today, somehow suprised of the way a majority of Afghans defied security and other threats. Some of my coverage on the Afghan election is here and here Under the influence of the killing of German AP-photographer Anja Niedringhaus the day before, few foreign media were present at the voting centers throughout the day. The same goes for international observers: most organisations (NDI, ANFREL, OSCE) withdrew most of their staff or remained confined to their hotel rooms in Kabul or Dubai. I did meet two out of some fifteen EU observers though at a polling center, who were wearing bullet-proof body armour, very much to the contrary of the many thousand of Afghan observers. In fact international observers largely depend on the local networks of Afghan observers, this time even more than in previous elections. Afghan public opion, that is media and social media, have found this election to reach a new level of public awareness, with unprecedented claims of accountability towards the candidates and the political class. The expectation for an 'end to the culture of corruption and impunity' is huge. Some media have dared to publish preliminary results already (see here) being able to gather semi-approved results from singular specific voting centers around the country. If these figures are accurate, the former Karzai minister of finance Ashraf Ganzi will face the former Karzai foreign minister Abdullah Abdullah in round two. Yesteday all through the day and also today, the enthusiasm and satisfaction of many an Afghan is real about an election many feared could creat more security and other disorders. Having said this, it reamins to be seen if the positive echoes mainly from urban centers are confirmed also from the provinces. The remote areas with little media, observers and security presence have been, especially in the last 2009 election, the site of most ballot stuffing and fraud. The vote in itself is interpreted by most as a severe defeat of the Taliban, unable with a few exceptions it seems, to seriously disrupt voting.

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