Vote Counted as Afghanistan Completes Presidential Election
    2014-04-07 11:08:18         Web Editor: Zhangpeng


Vote counting is currently underway in Afghanistan after millions of the country's citizens participated in a presidential election over the weekend.

Nearly 60 percent of the 12 million people eligible to vote turned out for Saturday's vote.

The bigger-than-expected turnout comes amid the Taliban's previous threat to disrupt the election.

Thijs (tice) Berman, the head of the European Union's election assessment team in Kabul has hailed the vote as a victory.

"I was impressed. I was moved personally as a democrat coming here on the invitation of the Afghan authorities to observe this elections, to make a assessment of it, to evaluate them, so I found it an impressive day and a victory against all those who wanted to mar these elections by violence."

Meanwhile, the Chinese Foreign Ministry says China hopes the election will be a new start for the country's unity and stability.

The UN Security Council also welcomed the election, urging all stakeholders in the country to respect electoral institutions.

Currently, the front-runners are former foreign ministers Abdullah Abdullah and Zalmai Rassoul, as well as Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai, an academic and former World Bank official.

Incumbent President Hamid Karzai is constitutionally prevented from seeking a third term.

If any candidate does not receive 50 percent plus one in this round of voting, then the polls will go to a second round between the top two candidates.

The preliminary results are expected to be out later this month and the final result will be announced in mid May.

For more on the Afghan elections, we are now joined on the line with Jia Xiudong, a senior research fellow with China Institute of International Studies.

1. The election has now completed, and Afghan leader has hailed the election and turnout as a success. What do you think about the election? Which candidate do you think is likely to win?

2. Earlier, the Afghan government tried to start talks with the Taliban, but dozens of people were killed in the violence during the election. What challenges will the new president face when dealing with the Taliban?

3. Earlier, Karzai refused to sign a deal to allow thousands of US soldiers to remain after NATO withdraws troops at the end of this year. Is the new leadership likely to change the government's policy towards the U.S?

That was Jia Xiudong, a senior research fellow with China Institute of International Studies.


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The Beijing Hour updated 20:00 2014/05/23

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