3 Center for American Progress | Afghans Find Their Way
Te bigges deerminan o Aghanisan’s sabiliy, a leas in he shor erm, will be he success o he poliical ransiion process and wheher i ushers in a more legii-mae Aghan governmen or creaes urher ragmenaion among Aghan leaders and ehnic groups. Te curren poliical consensus among Aghans, esablished a he Bonn Conerence in Germany, in 2001, is in disarray afer years o poor and predaory gover-nance and percepions o marginalizaion. Unlike one year ago, when many in Aghanisan and abroad quesioned wheher he presidenial elecions would happen a all due o ears ha Presiden Karzai would pre- ven heir realizaion, he elecions in April now appear o be ineviable. Te passage o he elecion laws, he esablishmen o he Independen Elecoral Commission and he Elecoral Complains Commission, he nominaion o he presidenial candidaes, and he oﬃcial sar o campaigning on February 3 have all creaed signiﬁcan momenum.
Unlike previous elecions, Aghans are leading he planning o he elecoral process and he securiy around he elecions, wih inernaional acors in supporing roles. Aghans, boh in polling and in our meeings, have expressed enhusiasm or he elec-ions. A December 2013 poll by Glevum Associaes ound ha 86 percen o he respon-dens believed ha holding elecions was an Islamic ac, while 96 percen considered he selecion o he uure leader o be imporan.
A Sepember 2013 pre-elecion survey conduced by Assess, ransorm, Reach, or AR, Consuling ound ha 79 percen o respondens inended o voe in he 2014 presidenial elecions, saing ha a risky secu-riy siuaion would be he only deerren rom voing.
Our discussions wih Aghans echoed hese ﬁndings, as he elecions were characerized as he op prioriy. While concerns exised over poenial raud and qualiy o he candidaes, Aghan inerlocuors argued he elecions were essenial or Aghanisan’s sabiliy and sae building process. Ashra Ghani Ahmadzai, Abdullah Abdullah, and Zalmai Rassoul are seen as he lead-ing presidenial candidaes ou o he 11 oal who are now in he running. Jus one monh beore he elecion, Qayum KarzaiPresiden Karzai’s broher and 1 o he 11 candidaesdropped ou o he race. More han 2,700 candidaes are compeing or he provincial councils.
A join December 2013 poll conduced by AR Consuling and OLOnews showed Abdullah leading, wih 27 percen o he respondens ideniying him as he preerred candidae, ollowed by Ghani.
I he ickeswih slos or one presiden and wo vice-presidensremain he same, i is unlikely any candidae will receive more han 50 percen o he voe, which will lead o a second round.