Afghans disappointed by election outcome

The power-sharing deal by Afghanistan’s two presidential candidates Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah has been received with mixed feelings. Many Afghans are worried about their country’s future.

All of a sudden things picked up pace in Afghanistan. After the country had been in a political stalemate for months, the two presidential candidates Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah briefly met Sunday morning (21.09.2014) at the presidential palace in Kabul to sign a power-sharing agreement. It was a quick procedure of a few minutes without any of the candidates making a statement.

Ghani was named president, and Abdullah was announced the country’s chief executive officer – a newly-created position similar to a prime minister.

Even though most Afghans are relieved to see an end to this election that dragged on for months, many say they are concerned about the future of a National Unity government under Ghani and Abdullah.

Tanin Sulaimankhail, a resident in Afghanistan’s capital Kabul, says he is happy the contesters finally agreed on a deal to end the Afghan economic crisis, which has gripped the country for months. Until now, companies and traders were unwilling to invest in the country. “We lost millions of US dollars and the people were left unemployed. I’m glad this is finally over,” he told DW. ‘Our votes didn’t count’ The announcement of the new government has been welcomed by Afghans all over the country. However, only few say the election process can be regarded as democratic success. Many Afghans are now asking themselves why they even bothered to vote in the first place. “I did vote in the second round,” said Hamed, another resident of Kabul. “But my vote did not count. The national unity government might be a good one, but it is not a government the Afghan people have elected,” he added.

Two winners – but the electorate loses big time?

Many citizens have voiced their anger via social media. They are angry that Afghanistan’s Independent Election Commission (IEC) has not published the final election results under the pretext of avoiding tensions between the former candidates’ teams.

Nils Wörmer, head of the German Konrad Adenauer foundation in Kabul, says the election can be described as a failure. According to Wörmer, the election process took too long and the power-sharing deal compromised the people’s votes.

“The election can hardly be described as free, fair and transparent,” he told DW. “According to many Afghans, the way the election was held can only be described as a farce.”

This view is echoed by German political scientist and Afghanistan expert Conrad Schetter. He says many Afghans are frustrated – and that’s not likely going to change soon. “The election process illustrated that Afghanistan is not even close to becoming a well-functioning democracy.”

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