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News and Views

Afghanistan Celebrates Second Presidential Election

Defying the odds in a country battling a brutal enemy, millions of Afghans lined up today to cast their votes in Afghanistan's second ever presidential election. While some polling stations in the South were forced to close due to security concerns, over 6,500 of the country's 7,000 planned stations remained open for the election of Afghanistan's president and provincial council representatives.

The election was organized and run by Afghanistan's Independent Election Commission, with the assistance of the U.S. and international community. Close to 17 million Afghans registered to vote -- an increase of 4 million over 2004 -- and 160,000 poll workers and 8,000 election monitors were deployed to ensure that the election proceeded normally. A combined force of 300,000 Afghan and international soldiers and policeman provided security for the polling stations, including 47,000 specially trained officers from the Afghan National Police.

In a statement, Ambassador Said T. Jawad recognized the importance of the election to Afghanistan political development. "[The] presidential election will demonstrate the maturity of the democratic and constitutional system that has developed in Afghanistan since 2001," he said. "It will also serve as evidence of the significant return on the investment made by Afghans and our international partners to build a civic and democratic society in our country."

"Though security has been a concern for us all, the campaign and presidential debates so far have been extremely vibrant, women’s participation as candidates and voters has increased, and polls have shown that the resilient people of Afghanistan will go out and vote in large numbers," he noted. "Recent surveys confirm that Afghans prefer democracy over any other system and trust that the election results will represent their will."

Preliminary results of the election will be announced on August 22, while the official results will be made available in early- to mid-September. Should any candidate receive less than 50 percent of the vote, a runoff will be scheduled for October.

Related News: Afghanistan Celebrates Independence Day and Presidential Election


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