The voting for a new President in Afghanistan, and where the country stands now.
More than seven million Afghans voted in their country’s presidential election over the weekend – a turnout rate about like ours in the United States. The wave of violence the Taliban had threatened didn’t materialize on a large scale. But we won’t know for weeks – maybe months -- who will succeed Hamid Karzai after his three terms in office. Will the outcome change the course of life in Afghanistan, a country ravaged by war for so long? Will it help America wind down its presence there — without hurting our battle against terrorism? This hour On Point: Afghanistan goes to the polls.
Reuters: Rivals cry foul as first results put Abdullah ahead in Afghan vote — "Preliminary tallies from Afghanistan's presidential election showed former foreign minister Abdullah Abdullah leading in parts of Kabul on Monday, but with ballot counting likely to last weeks it was far too early to predict a winner. The two other frontrunners alleged serious fraud in the April 5 vote, which all being well will lead to Afghanistan's first democratic transfer of power as incumbent Hamid Karzai prepares to step down after more than 12 years in the office."
New York Times: War and Unrest Provide for a Scarred Campaign Trail in Afghanistan — "But beyond Kabul, in cities that have seen far less Taliban violence this election season, campaign rallies have lured tens of thousands to stadiums, contrasting sharply with the last presidential election in 2009, when smaller sites were favored because of security concerns."
Al Jazeera: Fears of voter fraud mount ahead of Afghanistan's election — "Since the last election, the IEC has introduced anti-fraud measures such as barcodes and other tracking systems. And yet, for some in Afghanistan, the fact that this election is primarily an Afghan-run affair means it is already doomed. In previous elections, fraud occurred in spite of heavy international scrutiny, says Mohammad Hajidat Janan, a provincial council member in Wardak. Western interest in this election has decreased dramatically, 'so of course I expect fraud,' Janan says. 'Whoever wins will owe his victory to fraud. He will not be a man representing the will of the people.'"
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