Ghani secures second term as Afghan President

Source:AFP Published: 2020/2/19 21:23:40

Afghan Presiden Ashraf Ghani  Photo: VCG

Ashraf Ghani secured a second term as president of Afghanistan on Tuesday, but his bitter rival Abdullah Abdullah immediately challenged final election figures and said he was forming his own government.

The results of the September 28, 2019 poll were released after lengthy delays following vote-rigging allegations by Abdullah that led to a recount. 

Abdullah, who serves as ­Afghanistan's "chief executive" under Ghani in a power-sharing arrangement, said his team was "the victor."

His intent to try to form a separate government brought back memories of the angrily contested 2014 election, which also saw Ghani declared winner and Abdullah protest.

The US, which is currently negotiating a withdrawal deal with the Taliban, has less ­interest in Afghanistan's ­politics than it did in 2014 under then-president Barack Obama.

The Taliban also rejected Ghani's win, calling it "illegal" and "against the peace process."

Earlier, Ghani had hailed the results, saying in televised comments that "our government, our arms are open to all the people of Afghanistan."

Election commission chief Hawa Alam Nuristani said Ghani had taken 50.64 percent of the votes, compared to Abdullah's 39.52 percent.

The final results come just as Washington seeks a deal with the Taliban which would allow it to withdraw troops in return for various security guarantees and a promise that the militants would hold peace talks with Afghanistan.

An Afghan official said the two foes could sign the deal February 29 in Doha, depending on how well a ­confidence-building "­reduction in violence" period plays out.


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