Afghan Presidential Candidate Wants Official Vote Count Kept Secret- New York Times

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After months of negotiations over the
disputed presidential election, the
final sticking point is Mr. Abdullah’s
insistence that he will only agree to
the formation of a national unity
government, led by his rival Ashraf
Ghani as president, if the election
authorities do not publicly disclose
their final tally of the votes.
Mr. Ghani is widely expected to be
declared the winner of the election,
after a protracted and contentious
audit of all of the ballot boxes,
overseen by the United Nations . That
audit, which Mr. Abdullah eventually
boycotted, is complete, but the
country’s Independent Election
Commission has still not announced
the result.
For many of the millions of Afghans
who voted in the original April 6
election , and then in the runoff
election on June 14 , withholding the
results will be a bitter disappointment
— especially for voters like Mr.
Ahmad, who dipped their index
fingers in indelible ink to show they
had voted, knowing full well that it
could rouse the ire of insurgents who
warned voters to boycott the poll.
Mr. Ahmad was among 11 men in the
Koshke Kohna district of Herat
Province whose fingers were
amputated by the Taliban as
punishment the day after the June
vote. The indelible ink takes three
days to wear off, to prevent repeat
voting.
Even if the election results are
announced, Afghan voters will have
good reason to be disappointed by
their two risky forays to the polls this
year. The new government that results
from the election will be based only
partly on who won it. Both sides have
finished negotiating on the formation
of a national unity government, a
power-sharing arrangement with Mr.
Ghani as president and Mr. Abdullah,
or someone he nominates, in a new
post of chief executive.
“They are shamelessly stepping over
people’s votes and cutting a deal to
share power,” said an Afghan senator,
Belqis Roshan, criticizing both
candidates. “Those whose fingers were
chopped off did not fear from any
threats and bravely went to cast their
votes. Now their pride is broken since
their will and their votes will be
compromised by this deal.”
The composition of the unity
government was agreed upon by both
candidates last Sunday and had been
due to be announced Tuesday,
according to Western diplomats, when
Mr. Abdullah’s team insisted on the
condition that the vote tally be
withheld. Read the full story HERE.

Written by: ROD NORDLAND

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