The presidential candidates in Afhanistan have been in full campaign. Millions of Afghans today took part in the second round of their presidential election, the first time that a second round has ever taken place in an election in Afghanistan. Despite the challenges and the escalating violence, or perhaps because of it, a palpable streak of determination has been building in the run-up to the vote.
In a recent survey by the Free and Fair Election Forum of Afghanistan, or FEFA, 92 % of respondents said they supported the idea of elections, among those who didn´t plan to vote, most said it was because they weren´t registered, not because they feared the Taliban. Women, perhaps mindful of the consequences of the Taliban´s return, are especially invested in the vote. The Taliban is still a serious threat.
The Afghan people can be proud of what they have achieved. They have a strong foundation for the future.
Polls show Afghans continue to pin their hopes on a democratically elected government. Under the constitution, outgoing President Hamid Karzai cannot run again. The election comes at a crucial time for the country. U.S. troops are withdrawing, and the country’s democratic institutions and economy are very fragile.
The U.S and its coalition partners have studiously avoided indicating and preference among the candidates, to do so would only lend credence to the Taliban´s claim that the elections is a foreign influenced farce.
Getting through the elections is the first hurdle. More than 6000 polling centers around the country will be open on polling day, says FEFA source.
Once again, Afghan men and women have shown their determination to have a say in their country’s future. And once again the Afghan security forces and institutions have done an outstanding job despite the challenges. We all welcom the holding of second round of Afghan election.