Federal Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle today issued the following statement in Berlin on the announcement of the official results of Afghanistan’s parliamentary elections:
“We congratulate the Afghan people on concluding their parliamentary elections. They have demonstrated the will of the Afghan population to exercise their right to vote even under difficult circumstances.
As in previous elections, electoral fraud proved a major challenge to the legitimacy of the vote. It is an encouraging sign that the election authorities averted clear attempts to manipulate the results and unrelentingly followed up cases of electoral fraud. Germany is committed in its support for the independence of the election authorities.”
Afghanistan’s Independent Election Commission announced the official results of the second parliamentary elections since the fall of the Taliban for 33 of the 34 provinces on 24 November. The elections had taken place on 18 September. The results for the province of Ghazni are not yet official but are to be announced within a week. Around 70% of the newly elected representatives were not previously members of the lower house. The first session of the new parliament is expected to be held at the end of December.
Election organizations received over 6000 complaints during the election process. As a result, around 1.3 million of the 5.6 million votes cast were declared invalid on suspicion of electoral fraud. 27 candidates had their mandates revoked.
Although responsibility for these elections lay, for the first time, solely with the Afghan authorities, the international community did provide logistic and technical assistance, as well as a financial contribution of around 170 million US dollars towards the election costs, through the UN election support project ELECT run by the United Nations Development Programme.
Germany has contributed more than 9 million US dollars to ELECT and has furthermore provided 2.5 million for election observation through the Afghan NGO Free and Fair Election Foundation of Afghanistan (FEFA).