IEC’s initial result announcement commendable

After months of political limbo and bitter allegations of fraud and corruption in the September 28 poll, Afghanistan’s Independent Election Commission (IEC) announced the preliminary results here on Sunday.
According to the commission announcement, incumbent President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani earned 923,868 votes which is 50.64%, and led the preliminary results of the 2019 presidential election. Meanwhile, the incumbent Chief Executive Dr. Abdullah Abdullah followed with 720,990 votes which is 39.52%, according to the IEC. However, as soon as results were announced, Dr. Abdullah’s office rejected the results, saying would not accept the result unless their demands are addressed.
But, the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) welcomed the announcement of the preliminary results for Afghanistan’s presidential election and commended the “Independent Election Commission (IEC) and the Electoral Complaints Commission (ECC) – for their work leading up to the announcement.”
Candidates now have three days to file any complaints they may have before final results are announced, probably within a few weeks. The IEC has time and again stated to the electoral teams that let them announce the preliminary results and then they can share their concerns and complains with the ECC for further clarifications.
The electoral teams and their supporters should remember that the results announced were preliminary and there are many steps remained before the final election results are certified, so that to better ensure the Afghan people have confidence in the results and there were no allegations left to be addressed. Now the ECC has an obligation to adjudicate any complaints it receives transparently and thoroughly so the election process may conclude in a credible manner.
The protracted limbo between the vote and the preliminary result heaped additional uncertainty on Afghans who already are anxiously awaiting the outcome of talks between the US and the Taliban and looking forward to a piece of stability in their war-torn country.
Delay in announcing of the presidential election has further impacted socio-economic and political life of the Afghan people. Further delay in announcement of the final result of the presidential election would undermine the power of the government in the Afghan peace talks. Taliban has not accepted to talk to the Afghan government so far. Any electoral conflict gives them the opportunity to further undermine the legitimacy of Afghan government in the talks.
It is clear that the US and Taliban may soon reach an agreement and the Afghan government shall start and lead the Intra-Afghan talks. Consensus building in the Intra-Afghan talks is fundamental for a win-win peace deal. As a result, if the government and other Afghan politicians do not reach a consensus on the talks due to electoral tensions, we will not be able to stand against the Taliban as a united team, and we may lose many democratic achievements gained during past 18 years. 
Afghans have widely welcomed the announcement of preliminary results and looking forward to ECC to rapidly address the allegations so that the final decision is made. A free and fair election is the best testimony of the strength of the Afghan democracy. 
Meanwhile, it is vital for the Afghans to conclude the electoral disputes and reach a consensus on the peace process through engaging all political parties, Afghan politicians, civil society organizations and all ethnic groups, so that the bloodshed campaign is ended and a peaceful atmosphere is established for the war-suffered Afghan nation.

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