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.
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.