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Afghanistan has its first popularly-elected leader as Hamid Karzai has been declared the winner and his main rival conceded defeat. Yunus Qanuni told his countrymen that he accepted Karzai's election, allowing for an orderly transition to a representative government for the long-oppressed Afghanis:
The main rival of President Hamid Karzai has conceded defeat in Afghanistan's presidential election with less than six per cent of the vote left to be counted.
Yunus Qanuni said he would accept Mr Karzai's victory despite an investigation into allegations of electoral fraud in the poll on Oct 9.
Mr Karzai required more than half the vote to win the election and had polled 55.3 per cent of support after 94.4 per cent of the more than eight million ballots had been counted.
Qanuni finished a distant second to Karzai's 55% as multiple candidates ran for president, so the concession actually came rather late. It does show that the Afghanis have bought into the democratic process, though, allowing that despite some unavoidable irregularities that come with any first attempt at free elections, the people have spoken and overwhelmingly chose Hamid Karzai as their first constitutional president.
Qanuni's concession may, in fact, represent a larger milestone than the election itself: an acceptance of a democratically-achieved result by the loser. Without that precedent, democracy itself cannot survive. If the loser resorted to extra-democratic means to reverse the result, Afghani democracy would have died at birth.
Qanuni's concession is a brilliant lesson for those in supposedly mature democracies to follow. Next to his support for his country and his dedication to the democratic process, the Kerry campaign's pledge to ignore the voting results on November 2nd and declare themselves the winners regardless appears especially petty and small. What is it about democracy that the Kerry campaign cannot bring itself to support?Sphere It View blog reactions
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Agence France-Presse reports that Hamid Karzai has won outright victory in Afghanistan's first presidential election. As soon as Karzai's tally passed four million ballots, of an estimated eight million cast, Karzai's aides claimed victory. Karzai's ch... [Read More]
Tracked on October 24, 2004 5:15 PM
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