The myth of Afghan electoral democracy: the irregularities of the 2014 presidential election
Johnson, Thomas H.
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This article systematically assesses the 2014 Afghanistan Presidential Election, the first transfer of power from President Hamid Karzai to an elected successor, using provincial voting data as well as explicit data from polling centers. The analysis finds unusual voting results in the April election, where no candidate received 50%+1 votes required by the Afghan constitution, versus the voting results realized for the June ‘runoff election.’ As in other Afghan voting analyses, this article finds voting based on ethno-linguistic preferences, and interestingly found Dr. Ashraf Ghani receiving almost all the swing votes in the runoff election even though the other leading candidate from the April elec- tion all endorsed Dr. Abdullah Abdullah. More importantly, however, the research presented here clearly finds extremely strange voting patterns. For example, the polling data center analysis finds 606 polling places where Ghani received all 600 votes and Abdullah received none and another 900 polling centers that gave virtually all its votes to Ghani. These results in combination with other analyses raise the very real possibility that the election results were illegitimate. The article concludes with a discussion of the implications of the research to future Afghan elections and their processes as well as to the long- standing conflict in the country.
The article of record as published may be found at https://doi.org/10.1080/09592318.2018.1546273Includes supplementary material
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