Though the “final” count of Afghanistan’s August presidential vote does in fact show incumbent President Hamid Karzai with a whopping 54% of the vote, more than enough to forestall a run-off with challenger Abdullah Abdullah, the road to victory for the president continues to be a long and complex one.
Amid the furore over widespread voter fraud, EU election monitors are now saying that over 1.1 million of Karzai’s votes are suspect and should be checked for fraud, over a third of the overall votes he got in the election.
The UN-backed Election Complaints Commission (ECC) has ruled that around 10 percent of the polling stations should be subject to complete recounts because of either suspiciously large margins of victory (Karzai won 100% at several sites) or because of turnout far higher than expected.
Election officials say that this recount could take an enormous amount of time and will involve at least one in every seven ballots cast. It seems increasingly likely that, as more and more votes are thrown out, Karzai and Abdullah may face a run-off vote.