With growing evidence of massive voter fraud in last week’s Afghan presidential election, officials today promised to provide a preliminary report on the results of the disputed vote some time tomorrow. The results will be based on the 75% of polling stations that have currently reported.
But for many the report is moot. Though both major candidates claimed victory in the hours after voting ended, the raw data obtained by media outlets suggest that the election will deliver an improbably large landslide victory for incumbent President Hamid Karzai, amid reports of ballot stuffing and polling officials biased in his favor.
Finance Minister Hazrat Omar Zakhilwal seemed to roughly agree with the raw data, claiming Karzai had won with a “clear mandate” of 68% of the vote, eliminating the need for what pre-vote polling suggested was almost a certain runoff vote with rival Abdullah Abdullah.
But Karzai’s victory, such as it is, comes with hundreds of reports of fraud which the election commission will need to sort out before announcing an official winner. At least four dozen, according to officials, were significant enough charges to have materially effected the outcome.
UN Special Envoy Kai Eide conceded that there were “irregularities” in the poll, which is putting it mildly as the media has reported that voting in some districts took place without the hassle of having actual voters cast ballots and extra ballots were for sale on the open market for as little as $8 each. Eide advised critics of what on the surface seems to be one of the shadiest elections in recent memory to show patience, however, pending final results which are not expected for some time.