At stake in this election:
- The office of President of Afghanistan
Description of government structure:
- Chief of State: President Hamid KARZAI
- Head of Government: President Hamid KARZAI
- Assembly: Afghanistan has a bicameral National Assembly (Jirga) consisting of the House of Elders (Meshrano Jirga) with 102 seats and the House of People (Wolesi Jirga) with 249 seats.
Description of electoral system:
- The President is elected by absolute majority vote through a two-round system to serve a 5-year term. The President is limited to two-five year terms in office.
- The last presidential election was held on August 20, 2009. Following the initial count of votes, incumbent President Hamid KARZAI received 3,093,256 votes (54.6%), giving him an absolute majority. However, the election was marked by allegations of widespread fraud, including the sale of voter cards, bribery, voter intimidation, and the stuffing of ballot boxes. Additionally, a wave of violence before and on Election Day resulted in very low voter turnout. Following an investigation into the allegations of electoral fraud, the Election Complaints Commission announced on October 18 that over a million votes would be invalidated due to fraud. This move put incumbent Hamid KARZAI below the 50% threshold needed to avoid a runoff against opposition candidate Abdullah ABDULLAH. A second round of voting was scheduled for November 7, 2009; however, on November 1 ABDULLAH forfeited the runoff after KARZAI refused to meet his demand that the leadership of the Independent Electoral Commission resign for their perceived complicity in the fraud and political interference of the first round. The next day, the Independent Election Commission (IEC) announced that the runoff would be cancelled and declared Hamid KARZAI the winner by default. KARZAI will not compete in the 2014 election, as he has served the maximum two terms in office. Twenty-seven candidates registered to compete in the election; however, on October 22, 2013, the IEC disqualified 16 candidates for various reasons, including a lack of required signatures, documentation, and education level.
Main Candidates in the Presidential race:[i]
- Dr. Abdullah ABDULLAH[ii]
- Mohammad Daud SULTANZOY
Abdul Rahim WARDAK[iii] Quayum KARZAI[iv]
- Ashraf GHANI Ahmadzai
Sardar Mohammad Nadir NAEEM[v]
- Zalmai RASSOUL
- Qutbuddin HILAL
- Gul Agha SHERZAI
- Abdul Rasul SAYYAF
- Hedayat Amin ARSALA
Population and number of registered voters:
- Population: 31,108,077 (July 2013 est.)
- Registered Voters: 20,845,988 (March 2014)[vi]
· Female Population: 15,326,085 (2014)
· Is Afghanistan a signatory to CEDAW: Yes (14 August 1980)
· Has Afghanistan ratified CEDAW: Yes (5 March 2003)
· Gender Quota: Yes
· Female candidates in this election: No
· Number of Female Parliamentarians: 28 (27.45%) (2010)
· Human Development Index Position: 171 (2014)
· Social Institutions and Gender Index (SIGI) Categorization: High (2014)
· Is Afghanistan a signatory to CRPD: No
· Has Afghanistan ratified CRPD: Yes, accession (18 September 2012)
· Population with a disability: 4,666,211 (est.)
[i] The candidates are listed in the order that they appear on the ballot.
[ii] ABDULLAH is the only candidate to be running for a political party, contesting the election for the National Coalition of Afghanistan / Etelaf-e Milli.
[iii] WARDAK withdrew from the presidential election on March 16, 2014. He has not announced his support for any other candidate.
[iv] On March 6, 2014, KARZAI withdrew from the presidential election, and endorsed Zalmai RASSOUL. KARZAI is the older brother of current President Hamid KARZAI.
[v] NAEEM withdrew from the election on March 26, 2014 and endorsed Zalmai RASSOUL for president.
[vi] Data accessed on March 27, 2014 from the IEC website at http://iec.org.af/2012-05-31-16-45-49/voter-registration.