Home Contact Us  

Afghanistan - Articles

Print Bookmark Email Facebook Subscribe
#4396, 21 April 2014

Dateline Kabul

Presidential Elections 2014: Afghan-Owned, Afghan-Led
Mariam Safi

The third Presidential elections in Afghanistan marked a historical and triumphant day for all Afghans. Defying Taliban death threats and sporadic firefights, approximately 7.5 million voters were estimated to have turned out at polling stations across the country, potentially doubling the turn out as compared to previous elections. Moreover, this time around the elections ensured several long-lasting impressions that will invariably keep Afghanistan on the path to democratisation, both during this taxing period of transition and when the country enters its decade of transformation in the post-2014 era.

The elections signified not only that power in Afghanistan was being democratically transferred, but also, as prominent Afghan analyst Davood Moradian connoted, Afghanistan’s “third attempt at democratization." The readiness of voters and the actions of local media channels, civil society organisations and government functionaries on election day also challenged the assumptions held by some in the West and those in the region who questioned the “cultural compatibility” of Afghan traditions, values and Islamic society with democracy. The inability of the Taliban to disrupt the elections also marked a significant achievement for local Afghan forces while causing a severe blow to the insurgency. It also addressed regional fears concerning the ability of local forces to protect its territory in the aftermath of US and NATO withdrawal at the end of 2014. But most importantly, this election gave Afghans something previous elections had not, and that is the belief that they truly owned this democratic process and as such can now build their futures on it.

When a few Afghans were asked what the elections meant to them, the responses were inspiring to say the least. Sameem, 22, represents the largest segment of the Afghan population, the youth, and for him the election was a determining factor for his future. He said, “It gave us a platform to select a suitable candidate and based on this we can now plan our future.” Sara, aged 30, was amongst the millions of courageous women who turned out to vote, and she felt that “the election was more valuable then previous elections.” She asserted, “This time around people needed change and expected change, and this expectation was reinforced by the extraordinary turn out of voters.” Farid, aged 33, felt that the election was a “good democratic exercise” pointing to the “diversity amongst candidates and people’s willingness to go to polling stations despite all attacks.” Khalid, aged 50, said, “The elections showed that our politicians do not revert to guns and force anymore to bring change but rather follow democracy and brotherhood to bring peaceful change.” He stressed that the election was most meaningful because it showed the international community that despite “the foreign lives lost and the money spent rebuilding Afghanistan, its people, are now, to a degree, beginning to accept democracy.”

Nonetheless, two weeks post the election day, and the level of optimism and excitement is slowly declining as news of mass corruption and protests against the preliminary election results have surfaced. The Election Complaints Commission (ECC) identified 870 cases of fraud that they classified as “serious enough to affect the outcome” of the elections. Moreover, the IEC came under fire by candidates and voters alike who questioned the logic behind its 49.67 per cent partial vote count announced on 20 April, which consisted of the initial 10 per cent vote count announced on 13 April. The partial results, representing roughly 3.5 million votes, showed Abdullah Abdullah leading with 44.4 per cent while Ashraf Ghani was trailing with 33.2 per cent. This announcement received immediate backlash from Ghani’s team who protested that the results were ambiguous, preliminary and due to “change once all complaints have been addressed by the Electoral Complaints Commission (ECC)." His team also called on the IEC to announce the total number of votes nationwide, which would help clarify the partial results so far announced. The final tally of the preliminary votes will be announcement on 24 April and if a run-off is determined, which is most likely, it would be held as early as 28 May. 

According to locals, the partial election results are not cause for worry. Both Sameem and Balkhi felt that the success of the election process was now dependent on the performance of the IEC and ICC, and as long as this process was transparent, they found no reason to object the results. Sara stated that she was ready to head back to the polling booths if the elections went to a second round but contended that if her preferred candidate did not win she would find it difficult to accept the results. Farid, on the other hand, was optimistic about the partial election results and felt they were ‘fair’ but also contended that for him the real concern was not whether “the people of Afghanistan would accept the results” but whether “the powerbrokers would accept the results.”

Despite the irregularities, and whatever the eventual outcome maybe, the 2014 Afghan Presidential elections have been impressive, and has exceeded all expectations. But most noteworthy of all, it has reinforced the notion that Afghans are prepared to assume ownership of their political future.

Print Bookmark Email Facebook Subscribe
IPCS Columnists
Af-Pak Diary
D Suba Chandran
Resetting Kabul-Islamabad Relations: Three Key Issues
Can Pakistan Reset its Relations with Afghanistan?
The New Afghanistan: Four Major Challenges for President Ghani
Big Picture
Prof Varun Sahni
Understanding Democracy and Diversity in J&K
When Xi Met Modi: Juxtaposing China and India
Pakistan?s Tactical Nuclear Weapons: The Inevitability of Instability

Dateline Colombo

Asanga Abeyagoonasekera.
Sri Lanka: Moving Towards a Higher Collective Outcome
The Importance of Electing the Best to our Nation's Parliament
Sri Lanka: Toward a Diaspora Re-Engagement Plan
Dateline Islamabad
Salma Malik
Pakistan's Hurt Locker: What Next?
IPCS Forecast: Pakistan in 2015
India-Pakistan Relations in 2015: Through a Looking Glass
Dhaka Discourse
Prof Delwar Hossain
IPCS Forecast: Bangladesh in 2015
18th SAARC Summit: A Perspective from Bangladesh
Bangladesh in Global Forums: Diplomacy vs. Domestic Politics
Eagle Eye
Prof Chintamani Mahapatra
India-US: Significance of the Second Modi-Obama Meet
Has President Obama Turned Lame Duck?
Modi-Obama Summit: Criticism for Criticism?s Sake?

East Asia Compass
Dr Sandip Mishra
India-Japan-US Trilateral: India?s Policy for the Indo-Pacific
China-South Korea Ties: Implications for the US Pivot to Asia
Many ?Pivots to Asia?: What Does It Mean For Regional Stability?
Himalayan Frontier
Pramod Jaiswal
Nepal?s New Constitution: Instrument towards Peace or Catalyst to Conflict?
IPCS Forecast: Nepal in 2015
Constitution-making: Will Nepal Miss its Second Deadline?

Prof Shankari Sundararaman
IPCS Forecast: Southeast Asia in 2015
Indonesia's Pacific Identity: What Jakarta Must Do in West Papua
Modi in Myanmar: From ?Look East? to ?Act East?
Sushant Sareen
IPCS Forecast: Pakistan in 2015
Islamic State: Prospects in Pakistan
Pakistan: The Futility of Internationalising Kashmir

Looking East
Wasbir Hussain
Myanmar in New Delhi's Naga Riddle
China: ?Peaceful? Display of Military Might
Naga Peace Accord: Need to Reserve Euphoria
Maritime Matters
Vijay Sakhuja
Indian Ocean: Modi on a Maritime Pilgrimage
Indian Ocean: Exploring Maritime Domain Awareness
IPCS Forecast: The Indian Ocean in 2015

Nuke Street
Amb Sheelkant Sharma
US-Russia and Global Nuclear Security: Under a Frosty Spell?
India's Nuclear Capable Cruise Missile: The Nirbhay Test
India-Australia Nuclear Agreement: Bespeaking of a New Age
Red Affairs
Bibhu Prasad
Countering Left Wing Extremism: Failures within Successes
Return of the Native: CPI-Maoist in Kerala
The Rising Civilian Costs of the State-Vs-Extremists Conflict

Regional Economy
Amita Batra
India and the APEC
IPCS Forecast: South Asian Regional Integration
South Asia: Rupee Regionalisation and Intra-regional Trade Enhancement
South Asian Dialectic
PR Chari
Resuming the Indo-Pak Dialogue: Evolving a New Focus
Defence Management in India: An Agenda for Parrikar
Pakistani Taliban and Al Qaeda in Afghanistan: Implications for Asian Security

Spotlight West Asia
Amb Ranjit Gupta
Prime Minister Modi Finally Begins His Interaction with West Asia*
A Potential Indian Role in West Asia?
US-GCC Summit: More Hype than Substance
Strategic Space
Manpreet Sethi
India-Russia Nuclear Vision Statement: See that it Delivers
Global Nuclear Disarmament: The Humanitarian Consequences Route
Nasr: Dangers of Pakistan's Short Range Ballistic Missile

The Strategist
Vice Admiral Vijay Shankar
Jihadi Aggression and Nuclear Deterrence
The Blight of Ambiguity
Falun Gong: The Fear Within

OTHER REGULAR contributors
Gurmeet Kanwal
Harun ur Rashid
N Manoharan
Wasbir Hussain
Rana Banerji
N Manoharan

Ruhee Neog
Teshu Singh
Aparupa Bhattacherjee
Roomana Hukil
Aparupa Bhattacherjee

Related Articles
D Suba Chandran,
"Presidential Election: Thus spoke the Afghans," 7 April 2014
Rajeshwari Krishnamurthy,
"Afghanistan 2014: Near-Term Political Projections," 25 March 2014

Browse by Publications

Issue Briefs 
Special Reports 
Research Papers 
Seminar Reports 
Conference Reports 

Browse by Region/Countries

East Asia 
South Asia 
Southeast Asia 
US & South Asia 

Browse by Issues

India & the world  
Naxalite Violence 
Suicide Terrorism 
Peace & Conflict Database 
Article by same Author
Af-Pak: A Fresh Start

Can Afghanistan Become a "Perfect Place?"

Afghanistan: Political Crises After the Presidential Run-off

Talibanís Spring Offensive: Are the ANSF Prepared?

Afghan Elections 2014: What to Expect?

Afghanistan, US and the Peace Process: A Deal with the Taliban in 2014?

Bonn II: From Transition to Transformation in Afghanistan

NATO Breakdown in Afghanistan

Y! MyWeb
Print Bookmark Email Facebook Subscribe
Year 2018
 January  February
 2017  2016  2015  2014  2013  2012  2011  2010
 2009  2008  2007  2006  2005  2004  2003  2002
 2001  2000  1999  1998  1997

The Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies (IPCS) is the premier South Asian think tank which conducts independent research on and provides an in depth analysis of conventional and non-conventional issues related to national and South Asian security including nuclear issues, disarmament, non-proliferation, weapons of mass destruction, the war on terrorism, counter terrorism , strategies security sector reforms, and armed conflict and peace processes in the region.

For those in South Asia and elsewhere, the IPCS website provides a comprehensive analysis of the happenings within India with a special focus on Jammu and Kashmir and Naxalite Violence. Our research promotes greater understanding of India's foreign policy especially India-China relations, India's relations with SAARC countries and South East Asia.

Through close interaction with leading strategic thinkers, former members of the Indian Administrative Service, the Foreign Service and the three wings of the Armed Forces - the Indian Army, Indian Navy, and Indian Air Force, - the academic community as well as the media, the IPCS has contributed considerably to the strategic discourse in India.

Subscribe to Newswire | Site Map
18, Link Road, Jungpura Extension, New Delhi 110014, INDIA.

Tel: 91-11-4100-1902    Email: officemail@ipcs.org

© Copyright 2018, Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies.