Afghanistan’s President Ashraf Ghani was on track to win a second term Sunday, after election officials announced he had scored a majority in the presidential polls.
But despite Ghani’s apparent clean win, the fallout from the bitterly contested September 28 election looked set to continue, with top rival Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah saying he would contest the result.
According to the Independent Election Commission, Ghani won 50.64 percent of the vote in the September 28 poll, easily besting Abdullah, who scored 39.52 percent.
Candidates now have the right to file any complaints they may have before final results are announced, probably within a few weeks.
As soon as the result was announced, Abdullah’s office said in a statement he would contest it.
“We would like to make it clear once again to our people, supporters, election commission and our international allies that our team will not accept the result of this fraudulent vote unless our legitimate demands are addressed,” the statement read.
Preliminary results were originally due October 19 but were repeatedly delayed amid technical issues and allegations of fraud from various candidates, particularly Abdullah.
“We, with honesty, loyalty, responsibility and faithfulness completed our duty,” IEC chairwoman Hawa Alam Nuristani said.
“We respected every single vote because we wanted democracy to endure.”
The protracted limbo between the vote and the preliminary result heaped additional uncertainty on Afghans who already are anxiously awaiting the outcome of talks between the US and the Taliban.
The election was meant to be the cleanest yet in Afghanistan’s young democracy, with a German firm supplying biometric machines to stop people from voting more than once.
But nearly one million of the initial 2.7 million votes were purged owing to irregularities, meaning the election saw by far the lowest turnout of any Afghan poll.
The Arab uprisings were weakened by online fakes
The Arab uprisings a decade ago were supercharged by online calls to join the protests -- but the internet was soon flooded with misinformation, weakening the region's cyber-activists.
When Tunisian dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali fled the country in January 2011, rumours and uncertainty created "panic and hysteria", said ex-activist and entrepreneur Houeida Anouar.
"January 14 was a horrible night, so traumatic," she said. "We heard gunfire, and a neighbour shouted 'hide yourselves, they're raping women'."
As pro-regime media pumped out misinformation, the flood of bogus news also spread to the internet, a space activists had long seen as a refuge from censorship and propaganda.
Dr. Fauci warns of post-Thanksgiving COVID-19 surge in US
The United States is the worst-affected country, with 266,074 Covid-19 deaths, and President Donald Trump's administration has issued conflicting messages on mask-wearing, travel and the danger posed by the virus.
"There almost certainly is going to be an uptick because of what has happened with the travel," Fauci told CNN's "State of the Union."
Travel surrounding Thursday's Thanksgiving holiday made this the busiest week in US airports since the pandemic began.
"We may see a surge upon a surge" in two or three weeks, Fauci added. "We don't want to frighten people, but that's the reality."
Sidney Powell’s new election lawsuit cites election experts she won’t even name: legal expert
President Donald Trump's former election lawyer, Sidney Powell, has filed her lawsuit in Georgia suing Gov. Brian Kemp (R-GA) for what she says is a fraudulent election.
But lawyer Mike Dunford explained that it doesn't exactly work that way. Reading through Powell's court document "Emergency Motion for Declaratory, Emergency, and Permanent Injunctive Relief and Memorandum in Support Thereof."
"If you want emergency relief it is very helpful to be as clear and concise as humanly possible," he explained. "Pointing the court back to your 100+ page complaint with its 29 exhibits isn't how that is best done. To put it very mildly."