June 15, 2010, 12:20 p.m.
On August 20, 2009 Afghans voted to elect a president and members of provincial councils for the second time in the nation’s history. The National Democratic Institute has released a detailed report summarizing the findings from its observation mission in Afghanistan.
The elections were the first to be organized primarily by Afghan institutions and preparations for the elections took place amid armed conflict in the southern and eastern regions and sporadic violence in other areas of the country. The polling was marred by widespread fraud particularly in areas most affected by the insurgency. The final provincial council results were delayed for almost four months as electoral complaints were adjudicated and audits as well as recounts were conducted. Afghanistan’s Independent Election Commission (IEC) announced a runoff election between Hamid Karzai and former foreign minister Abdullah Abdullah after no single candidate received more than 50 percent of the valid votes cast. On November 1, six days before the scheduled runoff, Abdullah announced he would not participate since adequate measures had not been taken to prevent the recurrence of fraud. The IEC cancelled the runoff and declared Karzai the winner of the 2009 presidential election. Karzai was sworn in as president on November 19.