Poll recount confirms Ashraf Ghani as Afghan leader

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani speaks on the second day of the Munich Security Conference in Munich, Germany, Saturday, Feb. 15, 2020. (AP)
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Updated 19 February 2020

Poll recount confirms Ashraf Ghani as Afghan leader

  • Audit ends five months after election marred by fraud, intimidation claims

KABUL: Afghanistan’s Independent Election Commission (IEC) on Tuesday confirmed President Ashraf Ghani as the winner of last year’s elections, more than five months after the polls closed.

IEC chief Hawa Alam Nuristani told a news conference in Kabul that Ghani had secured 923,592 votes, or 50.64 percent of the total.

Ghani’s rival, Afghanistan Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah, gained 720,841 or 39.53 percent of the vote, she said.

The Sept. 28 election was disrupted by Taliban attacks, and marred by claims of intimidation, voting irregularities and fraud.

The IEC had failed on numerous occasions to announce the results in accordance with its election timeline. Two months ago, it said Ghani was on course to win a second term, prompting Abdullah to contest the long-delayed preliminary results.

HIGHLIGHT

Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah have been sharing power based on a deal brokered by Washington following a highly disputed election in 2014.

He appealed to the Independent Electoral Complaints Commission, demanding the removal of about 300,000 votes allegedly fraudulent votes.

Nuristani said the IEC had declared Ghani the winner following a special audit and recount of the disputed ballots.

The declaration of Ghani’s win and leadership for another five years comes amid announcements by Taliban and US negotiators that a peace deal is expected to be signed within a few days. The agreement follows more than a year of talks in Doha, Qatar.

Ghani and Abdullah have been sharing power based on a deal brokered by Washington following a highly disputed election in 2014.

Both have had sharp differences over the issue of peace talks with the Taliban.


Moscow says coronavirus outbreak enters new phase as residents go out to brave risk

Updated 29 March 2020

Moscow says coronavirus outbreak enters new phase as residents go out to brave risk

  • At least 52,000 people took walks in the city parks on Saturday
  • The official tally of confirmed cases in Russia rose by 270 in 24 hours

MOSCOW: Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin said on Sunday that the coronavirus outbreak had entered a new phase as the total number of cases in the Russian capital exceeded 1,000 with many Muscovites going out despite a plea to stay home.

Authorities in Moscow, Russia’s worst-affected area, shut shops and entertainment venues from Saturday and urged Muscovites to stay at home during the non-working week announced by President Vladimir Putin.

But at least 52,000 people took walks in the city parks on Saturday, and many elderly people made long trips on the city’s vast public transportation network, Sobyanin said on his website.

“The situation with the spread of coronavirus has entered a new phase. More than 1,000 cases of the disease have already been recorded in Moscow. Nobody is insured,” Sobyanin wrote.

“An example of miserable Italian and Spanish cities, even New York, where tens and hundreds of people die every day, is in front of everyone’s eyes.”

The official tally of confirmed cases in Russia rose by 270 in 24 hours, bringing the total to 1,534. Nine people have died of the coronavirus, seven of which in Moscow.