Afghanistan’s Independent Election Commission publicly confirmed the official results of the disputed 2014 election on Wednesday, more than a year and a half after the vote that elevated former finance minister Ashraf Ghani to the presidency. The 2014 election, touted as the first peaceful democratic transfer of power in Afghanistan, descended to the brink of chaos as Ghani and his rival, Abdullah Abdullah, traded accusations of fraud. According to the official numbers, Ghani won a runoff election in June 2014 with 55.27 percent of the vote to Abdullah’s 44.73 percent. It was at the request of both candidates, who now share power as part of a U.S.-brokered unity government, that the election commission delayed the release of the official numbers, said the commission’s chief, Ahmad Yousuf Nuristani.
“We had given election results on a CD to both candidates at that time,” he told Reuters. “We did not announce the certified results at that time, as both candidates had agreed that based on our country’s national interests, not to announce the results. We, based on our country’s national interest, respected this suggestion. Now it is our duty to release them.”
In the end, roughly 800,000 votes of more than 7 million overall ballots separated the candidates, according to the commission, which faced heavy criticism over its handling of the vote.