Ashraf Ghani’s Secret to Success
With Afghan elections in full swing, premature speculations have created a great deal of paranoia within the campaign of Abdullah Abdullah, one of the two presidential candidates, as he alleges there has been an "industrial-scale" electoral fraud and that he was being set up for a loss he would not accept. He claims that President Hamid Karzai and a host of his close confidantes colluded with the Independent Election Commission (IEC) to commit fraud. Their goal being to either bring in Ashraf Ghani, Abdullah's opponent, as president or to create a post-election crisis that Karzai can exploit to remain in office. His campaign has not presented any firm evidence to show that either Karzai or Ghani was involved in rigging the election. The authenticity and sources of the tapes released by Abdullah's campaign --implicating a senior IEC official of electoral fraud, and showing a handful of people stuffing ballot boxes allegedly in favor of Ghani -- remains unverified.
Although the IEC is expected to release initial results on July 2, Abdullah's campaign claims that early tallies show a suspicious surge in voter turnout in the Pashtun-dominated east and south where Ghani is popular. While the actual number of voters itself is hard to ascertain, largely because there has not been a thorough census in Afghanistan in three decades, indicators show a real vote surge in support of Ghani, not only in the south but across the country, as the product of a number of factors that go unnoticed.
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Javid Ahmad is a Program Coordinator for Asia at the German Marshall Fund of the United States.
Ahmad Hemmat is a Washington, DC-based researcher and advisor to the chairman of International Energy Partnerships.