News Column

Afghanistan polls completed to select Karzai's successor

June 14, 2014


Kabul, June 14 (ANI): Polls have officially closed in Afghanistan amidst tight security, which for the first time transfers power democratically by choosing a successor to President Hamid Karzai.

The main challenge for the top job is between former Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah and ex-World Bank economist Ashraf Ghani.

BBC reported that the head of the election commission said turnout was good and most polling stations had opened but admitted some places had run out of ballot papers.

As most foreign soldiers prepare to withdraw by the end of this year, the next president will face multiple challenges ranging from the continuing Taliban insurgency to the economy which remains weak.

Afghanistan has about 12 million Afghans who are eligible to vote. Meanwhile polls closed at 16:00 local time (11:30 GMT) but officials say those in line at that time could still vote.

BBC was quoted saying that the country's election commission has said that about 6,204 polling centres had opened, but about 160 remained closed because of security threats.

The run off vote comes after Abdullah had won 45 percent of the first-round vote, with his close challenger Ghani securing 31.6 percent - neither achieving the 50 percent needed to avoid a second round where both sides facing multiple claims of fraud.

The preliminary results are expected on July 2 and the final results will be declared on July 22. (ANI with inputs)

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Source: Asian News International