Afghan presidential candidate Ashraf Ghani pledged on Sunday to fight on after coming second in preliminary election results, setting the stage for a difficult run-off vote likely to be targeted by Taliban militants.
Another expensive, and potentially violent, election could be avoided by negotiations between the two leading candidates in the coming weeks, but both men have dismissed talks of a possible power-sharing deal.
Ghani, a ex-World Bank economist, secured 31.5 per cent of the vote, behind former foreign minister Abdullah Abdullah on 44.9 per cent, in the election on April 5 that began Afghanistan’s first democratic transfer of power.
- Varun Gandhi Under Attack Over Defence Deals: Here’s How
- This Diwali, Let Blind Students Brighten Up your Homes With Candles & Diyas
- CBI Files Supplementary Chargesheet In Sheena Bora Murder Case
- Soha Ali Khan And Vir Das Starrer 31st October Audience Reaction
- Sahara Chief Subrata Roy’s Parole Extended Till November 28
- Simple Tips To Secure Your Debit Card From Fraudsters
- New Zealand & India Team Being Welcomed In Chandigarh
- Mumbai Call Centre Scam: All You Need To Know
- Jammu Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti Appeals To Police: Here’s What She Said
- Shocker From Ahmedabad: Find Out What Happened
- Bigg Boss 10 Day 3 Review: Celebs Fail To Do Well in First Task
- Airtel Offers 10GB Data At Rs 259 For New 4G Smartphone Users
- Aamir Khan Starrer Dangal’s Trailer Launched: First Impressions
- TMC Supporters Attack BJP Leader Babul Supriyo
- Sri Lankan Navy Apprehends 20 Indian Fishermen
“In the second round, the people should decide who has the ability to bring changes to the system,” Ghani told supporters in Kabul.
“We will go for a second round with determination. Our belief in victory is still strong.”
As no candidate gained more than 50 per cent, a run-off between the two leading names is required under the Afghan constitution.
Ghani said that investigations into fraud could change the percentages before final results are due on May 14.
“After inspection of fraud, the distance between the two top candidates will lesson,” he said. “A second round is a must according to constitution. Any doubts will threaten the stability of Afghanistan.
“We will go for principles not deals,” he added. “The people’s votes tell me not to strike any deals with anyone behind the curtains.
“We are ready, the people are ready, I call on the international community not to doubt our determination.”
The head-to-head election due on June 7 will choose a successor to President Hamid Karzai, who has ruled since the Islamist Taliban regime was ousted in 2001 and who is constitutionally barred from serving a third term.
Whoever wins will have to oversee the fight against a resilient Taliban insurgency as 51,000 US-led troops depart this year, as well as strengthen an economy that relies on declining aid money.
Eight men ran in the election, with polling day hailed a success by Afghan officials and foreign allies as the Taliban failed to launch a major attack despite threats to disrupt the vote.
The 2009 election, when Karzai retained power, was marred by fraud in a chaotic process that shook confidence in the multinational effort to develop the country and also marked a sharp decline in relations with the United States.
The United Nations’ mission in Afghanistan welcomed today’s results, but warned election officials that they must address all complaints “in a professional, expeditious and open manner” to safeguard the election process.