January 01, 2015 EXP

The Afghanistan Presidential Election Comes to Final Political Solution

John Hardin “Jack” Young

Editor’s Note: Last issue, we inaugurated “Experience at Work,” a column designed to highlight the work of experienced lawyers who have honed their expertise over many years, and Jack Young wrote “Progress in Democracy and the Rule of Law: Evolving Election Standards and the Recent Elections in Afghanistan.” The results of the 2014 presidential election in Afghanistan, held April 5, were not final by the time our Summer issue of Experience was published. Jack has continued his work as a Senior Global Election Dispute Resolution Advisor in Afghanistan for the International Foundation for Electoral Systems, and so we asked him to provide a follow-up article.


In my last article, I explored the international standards for fair elections against the backdrop of the first round of the Afghan presidential election and the conclusion of the voting on the second round. Those standards are based on the rule of law expressed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which protect the fundamental rights to vote and to be elected to office. The election of the president of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan was significant because it was the first civilian transfer of power. The first round of the election was generally peaceful and without significant allegations of fraud, but it did not produce a candidate who received a majority (50% + 1 vote). The result was a second round election between the two leading candidates—Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai.

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