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Live Blog: Afghanistan Presidential Election 2014

20:34 5.4.2014
Here's a final summary of today's historic presidential vote. Thanks for following with us today.

- Polling stations have officially closed. There have been complaints throughout the country of ballot shortages and long lines amid higher than expected turnout.

- According to preliminary estimates by Afghanistan's election commissioner, 7 million out of 12 million Afghans cast a vote (58 percent). If these numbers hold, they would be a vast improvement over 2009, when one-third of eligible voters participated.

- Preliminary results from the first round are not expected until April 24.

- According to the Afghanistan Interior Ministry nine police, seven Afghan army members and 89 insurgents were killed on election day. Four civilians were killed and 43 were injured.

- The Taliban had promised to disrupt the vote and there were fears of widespread violence, but there were no large-scale attacks. Around 352,000 security forces were deployed nationwide to provide security.

- Among the eight candidates, the front-runners are former Finance Minister Ashraf Ghani and two former foreign ministers, Abdullah Abdullah and Zalmai Rasul.

- To win, a candidate must secure more than 50 percent of the vote. Otherwise, there will be a runoff between the top two candidates on May 28. Observers say a second round is very likely.

- The presidential vote took place on the same day as provincial council elections in each of the country’s 34 provinces.

All times are Kabul local time.
19:52 5.4.2014
19:40 5.4.2014
Frud Bezhan writes about the problems with ballot shortages today, which were reported in as many as 15 of the country's 34 provinces. The limits on ballots was meant to prevent fraud, but some worry that the shortages could detract from the legitimacy of the vote.
19:28 5.4.2014
Afghan Election Commission chief estimates 58 percent turnout
Ahmad Yousuf Nouristani estimated that 7 million of a possible 12 million voters had cast ballots. He said the estimates were based on preliminary figures.
19:17 5.4.2014
19:02 5.4.2014
Ghani speaks to RFE/RL, criticizes ballot issues
Ashraf Ghani, who was leading in polling before today's election, spoke with RFE/RL's Afghan Service shortly after polls closed today.

"The lack of sufficient ballot papers all over the country, especially in the north and in Kabul needs to be investigated, and explained," he said. "We are hoping that the Afghan Elections Commission will provide the necessary explanation and give our people an explanation of these particular matters."

"It is too early to say anything about the fairness of the vote because we are not in a situation where all votes have been counted," he added.
Presidential candidate Ashraf Ghani speaks to journalists in Kabul, April 2, 2014
Presidential candidate Ashraf Ghani speaks to journalists in Kabul, April 2, 2014
18:17 5.4.2014
18:11 5.4.2014
Many people see the lack of widespread Taliban attacks as a clear victory for democracy. Throughout the day, photos of purple-fingered voters were shared on Twitter as an affront to Taliban threats.
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17:47 5.4.2014
Sattar Saadat, the head of the Electoral Complaints Commission says the group will start recording allegations of electoral fraud an other complaints at midnight , Afghanistan time and the process will continue for 48 hours. Saadat told RFE/RL's Afghan Service he doubted reports of lack of ballot papers at some voting stations.
"It is too soon to say anything about fairness of the process, allegations of fraud and technical shortages. Electoral fraud exists even in the worlds' most developed countries. Every one knows that Afghanistan has a particular condition [in relation to elections] -- insecurity, the existence of warlords, a lack of the culture of elections and democracy are all major challenges. Fortunately, the turnout was huge and I did not expect this to happen."

"Unexpectedly, people said no to all kinds of challenges, tolerated the rain, the harsh weather, and voted. We have already received some complaints, At least 58 complaints were officially recorded an hour ago. We received over 500 complaints over telephone. Major complaints came from Wardak, Parwan, Kapisa, Kandahar and so on. We will look at all of them."
17:13 5.4.2014
Voters throughout the country talk to RFE/RL's Afghan Service
Vox Pop: Afghan Voters Share Hopes For Peace And Stability
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