H.E. Ambassador Ayoob M. Erfani
first assessment of the
5 April 2014
Presidential and Provincial Council Elections in Afghanistan
at the 994th meeting of the permanent council of the OSCE
10 April 2014
The historic Presidential and Provincial Council Elections were held on 5 April 2014.
Image:SHAH MARAI/AFP/Getty Images
On April 4, just one day before the April 5 elections, I made a comprehensive presentation on the status of Afghanistan’s preparation for the Presidential and Provincial elections before the OSCE’s Asian Contact Group Meeting. Today, I wish to share with you the first assessment of the April 5 vote and brief the Permanent Council on the outcome of this historic event in Afghanistan.
Mr. Chairman, I would first of all like to thank all colleagues for their statements at today’s meeting and their supportive and encouraging messages and comments on the 2014 Afghan Presidential and Provincial Council Elections that took place last Saturday. These elections marked an historic milestone in the democratic process of Afghanistan and bears testimony to Afghanistan’s decade partnership with the International Community. Let me express my gratitude to Afghanistan’s international partners, many of which present here today, for their continued partnership with Afghanistan. Following this historic event, the importance of this co-operation to serve the cause of a better Afghanistan and to stability in our region and beyond cannot be overestimated. I wish to pay tribute to all military and civilian officials who have sacrificed so much for Afghanistan. I also thank the Election Support Teams of ODHIR for their valuable participation in these and all previous elections in Afghanistan since the Taliban regime has been ousted.
As previous distinguished speakers stated, this vote has been one of the defining political events in Afghanistan’s history. Just before polling day, in my presentation at the meeting of the Asian Contact Group, I stated that we regard these elections as a major opportunity to strengthen our young democracy, in particular in light of the 2014 transition and upcoming decade of transformation 2015-2024. Today, I can proudly announce that the people of Afghanistan bravely seized this opportunity.
The outcome of these elections exceeds our expectations and marks the first democratic transfer of power in my country. I can also announce a record turnout and a record participation of women, at almost 40%. Also, Afghanistan’s large youth population, many of whom were voting last weekend for the very first time, are ready to mobilize themselves and to have a say on their country’s future. The Taliban threatened to “use all force” to disrupt the elections, yet clearly failed.
The Afghan National Security Forces succeeded in providing security and the brave Afghan people, yearning for democracy, security and stability in their country, came forward and withstood the bloody threats by the Taliban and adverse weather conditions. Neither the announced fire of the Taliban, nor the water of the intense rain stopped them from expressing their free will. This is textbook democracy exercised by the courageous and committed citizens of Afghanistan, triumphantly lifting their ink-marked index fingers in the air.
Based on all this information, we can safely conclude that this election was historic for Afghanistan. As a matter of fact there was less fraud compared to previous elections, better security in all 34 provinces, and enthusiastic participation of more than 7 million voters implying a better turnout than ever before. We also witnessed the commitments of the brave Afghan people, the improved preparation of electoral institutions (IEC and IECC), the active role of Afghanistan’s vibrant media, the strong campaigns of candidates, the committed participation of both local and international observers and the excellent performance of Afghan National Security Forces. The international press response to these elections has been largely positive, with the events that unfolded on Election Day being heralded as a resounding success. The elections also were widely welcomed by the International Community including the UN, EU, NATO and other partners and friends.
This election proves, once again, that Afghanistan has established all necessary institutions for a better future and we thank our partners in the International Community for their continued support during the Decade of Transformation. It is a fact that this election took place with an unexpectedly high voter turnout, despite vile threats from terrorist organizations, harsh weather and logistical barriers; and it is a fact that the Afghan people took this opportunity to say no to violence and terrorism but stood up defiantly for their right to vote.
At the same time, we are aware that there are a number of issues that still need to be addressed, primarily in the areas of logistics, technicalities, alleged irregularities and possible frauds. However, the reports by observers indicate fraud in the 2014 elections was significantly lower than in the 2009 vote and it will not undermine the legitimacy of April 5 elections.
The Independent Election Commission (IEC) and the Independent Election Complaints Commission (IECC) are working hard to resolve all remaining problems; to respond to any alleged malpractice and election law violations and investigate all complains to secure the credibility of the elections.
In conclusion Mr. Chairman, I would like quote a prominent female member of parliament: “It was my dream come true – That was a fantastic slap on the face of the enemy of Afghanistan, a strong rejection in the face of those who believe Afghanistan is not ready for democracy.”
ANNEX — FACTS AND FIGURES
||More than 7 million / 60% of the 12 million electorate
|Active polling stations
||6218 (out of 6423)
|Partial results to be announced
||At the end of this week
|Announcement of Preliminary Results of Presidential Election
|Presidential Election Complaints Period
||7 Apr – 27 Apr
|Adjudication of Complaints of Presidential Election
||7 Apr – 7 May
|ECC Final Decision and Its Submission to IEC
|Presidential Election Final Results Announcement
|Implementation of IEC Decision
|Presidential Election Run-off
|Counting of Votes of Provincial Councils Elections
||21 Apr – 12 May
|Announcement of Preliminary Results of the Provincial Councils Election
|Adjudication of Complaints of Provincial Council Elections
||22 Apr – 30 May
|ECC Final Decision and Its Submission to IEC
|Provincial Councils Election Final Results Announcement