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IRI Statement on Afghanistan’s Presidential Election Runoff

October 21, 2009

Washington, DC – “IRI was privileged to monitor Afghanistan’s August 20, 2009 presidential and provincial elections.  At the time, IRI stated that ‘elections are a process of pre-election environment, pre-election administration, Election Day voting, vote counting and post-election adjudication, resulting in acceptance of legitimate results.’

“Since Election Day, Afghanistan’s Electoral Complaints Commission (ECC) has played a critical role in the vote counting and post-election adjudication process.  The result of the process was the announcement that President Hamid Karzai did not reach the 50 percent threshold to avoid a runoff election with his nearest challenger Abdullah Abdullah.  The adjudication process has added a measure of legitimacy to the Afghan election process and, as a result, the Independent Election Commission has announced a runoff scheduled for November 7.

“As the process moves forward, it is important that all stakeholders look closely at and solve those concerns raised by Afghan and international monitors and the media.  Those include:

  • the security environment that contributed to Afghans’ fear of going to the polls;
  • the many credible reports of voting irregularities such as ghost polling stations; and
  • the use of state resources during the campaign despite legal prohibitions.
“Afghanistan faces a number of challenges in preparing for and holding a runoff election and IRI is evaluating what role it can play in support of the process.  The Institute will continue to work with its Afghan partners to support their efforts in ensuring an open and transparent election and will determine in the coming days how it can best support their efforts.  It is important to remember that this is an Afghan process and it will be the Afghan people and Afghan institutions that have to determine if the final result is legitimate.”