Office of the Spokesperson
September 21, 2014
STATEMENT BY JEN PSAKI, SPOKESPERSON
Outcome of the Afghan Elections
We congratulate President-elect Dr. Ashraf Ghani. We look forward to a close partnership with Dr. Ghani and Dr. Abdullah Abdullah as they form and work together in the Government of National Unity.
Most importantly, we congratulate the people of Afghanistan. We recognize the millions of Afghan men and women who courageously went to the polls to vote on April 5 and again on June 14, defying Taliban threats to exercise their right to vote and to take their part in advancing democracy in Afghanistan. The bravery and collective hopes of Afghans must be respected by the government of national unity, which can now use its strong and credible mandate, and the legitimacy provided by the votes of millions of supporters, to implement a national reform agenda that will improve the lives of all Afghans.
We acknowledge the hard work of many Afghans who made this historic outcome possible, to include the extraordinary effort of the ANSF to provide security. We thank the international community for its mobilization of observers and the unprecedented deployment of United Nations advisors and elections expertise. Finally, we also recognize President Karzai for his strong leadership over the past 13 years, which yielded many gains for the Afghan people, culminating in the first democratic and peaceful transfer of leadership in Afghanistan’s history.
There were serious allegations of extensive fraud during the election, resulting in an unprecedented 100% audit of all ballots. We join the candidates in deploring any fraud in the electoral process, especially any that was committed by those in the electoral institutions who were most responsible for protecting Afghans’ democratic aspirations.
Strong efforts were made to conduct a thorough audit, and the audit process was able to identify fraud that was significant in both scope and sophistication. However, there were limitations to the technical audit process in revealing the full extent of the fraud. The candidates and many observers have raised legitimate concerns about irregularities in the electoral process. Despite best efforts, not all of these grievances were – or could be – resolved by the audit. Nonetheless, the final outcome of the election process is legitimate and the results will be transparent.
Although the candidates had disputes and serious reservations with the process that could not be resolved, they agreed for the good of the country to resolve the harmful political uncertainty and abide by the outcome of the election. For this reason, the new administration has made electoral reform one of its chief priorities – a goal we support.
We look forward to an inauguration of the new president and the appointment of the new Chief Executive Officer, the signing of the Bilateral Security Agreement and NATO SOFA, and to deepening our enduring partnership with the Afghan people as we support the new government's reform agenda.