MOSCOW, April 08 /ITAR-TASS/. Russian Central Election Commission’s representatives, who monitored presidential elections in Afghanistan on April 5, highly evaluated efforts of the Afghan authorities concerning security provision during the polls.
“We have visited five election centers and some 25 polling stations on the voting day,” Siyabshakh Shapiyev, the head of the Russian delegation of monitors, said in interview with Itar-Tass.
“Despite threats from Taliban militants ahead of the election, the turnout was twice as much as during the 2009 election,” he said. “We need to respect the courage of Afghanistan’s voters, who told us that it was their own chance ‘to build a democratic society.’”
The head of the Russian delegation also said that cooperation between the election commissions of Russia and Afghanistan would continue in the future.
“We were invited to take part in monitoring the second round of the election, if necessary, and it was provisionally scheduled for May 28,” Shapiyev said.
A total of 325,000 local and foreign observers monitored the Afghan elections. They registered a number of violations that were promptly corrected by local authorities.
Despite bad weather and the threat of terrorist attacks, the turnout at the national elections totaled 58 percent. According to experts, with account for the difficult situation in the country, elections will be recognized as valid even despite reported violations.
According to preliminary data from the election commission, some 7 million people participated in the April 5 elections. The vote count will last until April 20. Preliminary results will be announced April 24.
Afghanistan’s current president, Hamid Karzai, was not running in the elections as the constitution does not allow him to run for a third term of office.
According to political experts, none of the current presidential candidates is likely to receive 50 percent plus one vote required to win the election in the first round. Afghanistan will likely be in for a second round. If so, two candidates will then fight for the top state post, and the winner will be defined by a simple majority of votes.