Figuring Winner Will Be Tough Part in Afghanistan

By Mat Probasco,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 20, 2009 10:56 PM CDT
Election worker counts ballots with provincial votes in Mazar-I-Sharif in northern Afghanistan.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Although Afghanistan managed to avoid widespread election-day bloodshed yesterday, the hard part is yet to come, Laura King writes for the Los Angeles Times: deciding who won. First, officials first must conclude whether voting was free and fair enough to make results credible. Already, an early sketch promised for Saturday has been pushed into next week—and full results could take much longer.

Second, one of the four leading candidates, or two dozen lesser candidates, must achieve a majority to avoid a runoff election. Still, in a country besieged by warfare, corruption, drug trade, and poverty under incumbent President Hamid Karzai, election observers saw little evidence of widespread irregularity. “All things considered, we're cautiously optimistic that it was a good day for the country,” a UN rep said.