Afghanistan Elections

Today I am happy to be sitting behind my desk and writing about the successful elections in Afghanistan, 2014. After the enduring years of war, Afghans can finally take part in choosing their own future by electing the candidate of their own choice to become the next president of Afghanistan.

Three presidential elections have taken place in Afghanistan since the US led operation overthrew the Taliban in the year 2001. Hamid Karzai was elected as president of Afghanistan in 2004 and also in 2009 which allowed him the right to run as president twice in a row. It is evident that Hamid Karzai has helped rebuild the country in many ways, such as a better education system for the children of Afghanistan, rights for women in Afghanistan, more homes, a better and safer, more modern Afghanistan. When I last visited Afghanistan, in the year 2012, I managed to ask people for their thoughts on Hamid Karzai, a large number had said they were very pleased with what Hamid Karzai had achieved as the president.

The third presidential election was held on April 5, 2014. There were 27 candidates for this election, only 8 were successful, leaving the 19 others disqualified or withdrawn. The most considerable of the 8 candidates were Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai. On the day of the elections, people around the world were convinced that Afghans would not come out of their homes to vote as there were several threats of attacks promised to take part. Although attacks had taken place before the elections, there were many unsucceful ones on the day of the election due to the high standard of security by the Afghan forces. This shows the hard work Afghans put in, as a team, to have a successful election with no blood spill.

April 5, 2014, was a very historical day for Afghanistan and its people. I recall waking up in the morning, with a cup of tea in my hand, scrolling down my Twitter page and noticing that the  Afghan election had gone internet viral due to the fact that 7 million out of 12 million Afghans cast a vote (58 percent) which is a big sum compared to the 2009 elections. There were images posted of people cueing up in long queues to vote, irrespective of the bad weather conditions, a very rainy and wet day. There was one image which showed women in a long queue, using a long plastic bag to shelter their heads. This image was mesmerizing to me. It screamed a thousand words, and silent thoughts of peace. Whether it cost them their lives or not, they did not care, they all went out with their children and became a part of the history of Afghanistan.

After the first round of elections, the results came out and Abdullah Abdullah had received 44% of the votes while Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai was left with only 33%. The election law consists for a candidate to have at least 50+1% of the votes in order to be the winner. Consequently it has been announced that there will be a second round of elections. Therefore the next elections will take part on May 29, 2014 and the winner will become the president of Afghanistan for five years. Correspondingly, both Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai have good relations with Washington and both are westernised, which indicates that both have a high chance of winning but the decision lies in the hands of the people of Afghanistan.

As a young Afghan it is hard to give my views on who should win and why. I’m very much looking forward to the results and support both Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai equally. This is because I have a very good feeling about both of them and trust the decision made by those who have contributed in the elections. I hope for the best and wish all the luck to both the candidates.