KABUL, 15 May 2014 – The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) welcomes today’s announcement of the final results of the 5 April Presidential elections.
It congratulates the Afghan people, candidates, and the country’s electoral and security institutions on this democratic milestone. Millions of Afghan citizens voted with determination in the polls and UNAMA looks forward to equally enthusiastic participation in the second round run-off.
“Afghans can justifiably be proud of their elections,” said the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan and head of UNAMA, Ján Kubiš. “On election day, Afghan men and women demonstrated their desire to live in peace, dignity and prosperity. Democratic choice prevailed over violence and coercion.”
“I also commend all the candidates on a hard-fought but positive campaign. With no outright winner declared by the Independent Election Commission (IEC) in the first round, I call upon the candidates to display respect for the results and statesmanship as the process moves to a second round run-off,” he added.
UNAMA notes that the process leading up to the elections represented an improvement over past votes. For the first time, the elections were conducted based on laws passed by the National Assembly rather than Presidential decree. They were, for the first time, fully Afghan-managed by the two independent electoral institutions, constituted on the basis of a formal consultative process set out in the new legislation.
The UN Mission also acknowledges the efforts made by Afghanistan’s two electoral institutions to increase transparency in polling, the counting of votes and the handling of complaints. It further notes that the Independent Electoral Complains Commission (IECC) adjudicated all complaints that were formally filed before required deadlines.
“I encourage the IEC and IECC to continue improving their performance, based on the lessons learned from the recognised shortcomings of the first round. In particular, I urge them to make greater efforts to further increase transparency, to improve communication by responding quickly and accurately to issues raised by the candidates and observers, and to proactively explain their decisions to the public,” said the Special Representative. “Afghans should have confidence that all valid votes will be counted and all fraudulent votes discarded.”
Mr. Kubiš also recognized the role of Afghan observers in preventing and detecting fraud, noting that, "their role will remain critical in the next round."
UNAMA now stresses the importance of cooperation between the electoral institutions and candidates in the run-up to the second round polling to safeguard national unity and stability.
“I hope that the prevailing respectful tone seen in the first round is preserved in the weeks ahead,” said Mr. Kubiš. “Candidates have a responsibility to call on their supporters to refrain from inflammatory rhetoric, intimidation, and threats.”
"Candidates must also instruct their supporters not to commit fraud on their behalf as that ultimately discredits them and the standing of the next President and Government,” the Special Representative continued. “Likewise, the blame for fraud should not be exclusively shifted to the IEC and IECC. Rather the candidates should work with these bodies to prevent the recurrence of any fraud.”
UNAMA adds that government and electoral officials that committed fraud must be held accountable for their actions and referred to the judiciary for criminal prosecution according to the law.