Afghanistan Presidential Hopefuls Agree To Election Recount

Afghanistan's two presidential candidates have agreed to settle an election dispute with a comprehensive, internationally monitored audit.
Posted at 10:29 PM, Jul 12, 2014

Afghanistan is going to have to wait a little longer to find out who its next president will be. After some prompting from U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, the country's two presidential hopefuls have both agreed to a massive audit of the election ballots. (Via U.S. Department of State)

According to the agreement, Afghanistan's election results will be reexamined by international monitors approved by the U.N. Both candidates promised to accept the reviewed results, and form a unity government in the aftermath. (Via Voice of America)

About 8 million Afghans turned out to vote in the country's runoff election on June 14, after no candidates managed to get over 50 percent support in the first round of elections. (Via Vice)

Former World Bank official Ashraf Ghani took a strong lead in the runoff — however, his main rival, Abdullah Abdullah, threatened not to accept the results, blaming them on "industrial-scale fraud." (Via 1TVKabul, Press TV)

Abdullah's rejection could have had serious consequences for the country's future. Some of Abdullah's supporters were urging him to form an alternative government, which might have divided the country along ethnic lines.

And Al Jazeera notes a fractured Afghanistan "would prompt Washington to pull the plug on the billions of dollars Afghanistan desperately needs to maintain its economy and its security forces." Fortunately, that fate seems to have been averted for now.

A BBC correspondent notes Kerry's swift intervention in the crisis might have been prompted by the rapidly-deteriorating situation in Iraq, where the government is currently locked in conflict with the militant group ISIS.

"Given the fact that so many people are now making comparisons with what's happened in Iraq, there is a huge amount of pressure to get Afghanistan right."

Afghanistan's next president was set to be sworn in on August 2. That ceremony is expected to be delayed since the recall process will take several weeks.