Federal Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle today (19 September) issued the following statement on the holding of parliamentary elections in Afghanistan:
“Yesterday’s elections were the first parliamentary elections in Afghanistan to be organized by the Afghans themselves. The very fact that they went ahead under such difficult conditions is a remarkable step on the way to democracy in Afghanistan.
Together with the Afghan people we mourn all those who were killed or injured yesterday while on their way to vote or while guarding the polling stations. However, the enemies of democracy in Afghanistan did not succeed in preventing or seriously disrupting the elections.
The fact that the turnout, according to initial estimates by the Afghan Electoral Commission, was slightly higher than at the last elections is a sign that the people of Afghanistan want democracy.
We take the numerous indications of electoral fraud very seriously. However, the discovery and documentation of these suspicions is also testimony to the efficiency of the election observers, most of whom this time were Afghans, whose commitment and courage we can only respect and admire.
It is now crucial for the legitimacy of the elections that the Afghan electoral institutions, including the Electoral Complaints Commission (ECC), which was very important also at the last election, resolutely pursue these suspected cases of electoral fraud and make the necessary corrections.”
Among other assistance, the German Government provided USD 2.5 million in support for the independent Free and Fair Election Foundation of Afghanistan (FEFA).