FACTBOX - Key facts about Afghanistan's presidential election

KABUL Sat Apr 5, 2014 12:19pm IST

Afghan women wait to cast their ballot at a polling station in Mazar-i-sharif April 5, 2014. REUTERS/Zohra Bensemra

Afghan women wait to cast their ballot at a polling station in Mazar-i-sharif April 5, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Zohra Bensemra

KABUL (Reuters) - Afghan President Hamid Karzai, who has led the country for more than 12 years since the fall of the Taliban, is constitutionally barred from seeking another term in office in Saturday's presidential election.

Of the eight candidates, the three frontrunners are former foreign ministers Abdullah Abdullah and Zalmay Rassoul and former finance minister Ashraf Ghani.

To win, a candidate must secure more than 50 percent of valid ballots, failing which the top two candidates go into a run-off. The three frontrunners all enjoy similar levels of support, so a second round of voting is likely.

The process is almost certain to drag on for several months, partly due to Afghanistan's difficult terrain, which will require about 3,000 donkeys to carry ballots and voting boxes to the country's most inaccessible areas.

The likelihood of allegations of mass fraud by rival candidates could further delay and complicate vote counting.

The final result from the first round may not be known until at least mid-May. If there is a second round, it is scheduled to be held at the end of that month. The name of the new Afghan leader may not be known for months, and some diplomatic sources believe it might not be confirmed before October.

Here are some details of the election.

KEY FACTS

- There are nearly 28,500 polling centres and smaller polling stations. But at least 10 percent of polling stations are expected to have closed due to security threats.

- Two of the three main international observer missions pulled out foreign staff after the Taliban attacked a highly fortified hotel in the capital, Kabul, where many were staying, killing nine.

- Afghanistan, with a population of about 30 million, has 12 million eligible voters, but as many as 18 million voter cards are in circulation.

- Turnout was 4.6 million in the previous presidential election, in 2009, which was considered low. Some 1.2 million ballots were thrown out as fraudulent. Afghanistan has printed 15 million ballot papers this time, but spiralling violence may once again keep the turnout down.

- The Taliban have threatened to disrupt the election, which they see as a U.S.-backed sham. They staged almost daily attacks, mainly in Kabul, in the run-up to the poll.

- Afghanistan's authorities say they will deploy 352,000 forces to provide security during the vote.

- If a candidate dies before the announcement of final results, new elections will be held within 30 days.

TIMEFRAME

- Vote counting: April 6 to 20

- Preliminary results: April 24

- Presidential election complaints period: April 7 to 27

- Final results announcement: May 14

- Run-off, if necessary: May 28

(Source: Independent Election Commission)

(Reporting by Maria Golovnina, Mirwais Harooni, Hamid Shalizi and Jessica Donati; Editing by John Chalmers and Clarence Fernandez)

FILED UNDER:
  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

Insight

REUTERS SHOWCASE

Border Talks

Border Talks

India names Ajit Doval as special envoy for China border talks.  Full Article 

WTO Deal

WTO Deal

U.S. seeks to step up India trade talks  Full Article 

Phone Masts

Phone Masts

American Tower to buy Bharti Nigeria phone masts for $1.1 billion  Full Article 

Infrastructure Plan

Infrastructure Plan

India targets private cash to build railways to its ports.  Full Article 

Shadow Banking

Shadow Banking

Reserve Bank planning more measures for NBFCs.  Full Article 

Auto Sector

Auto Sector

Hyundai Motor, Kia Motors lift 2014 global sales target on China, emerging markets  Full Article 

Oil Prices

Oil Prices

Some fund managers see oil falling to $60 without OPEC cut.  Full Article 

Project Shelved

Project Shelved

Jindal Steel shelves $10 bln project after coal setback.  Full Article 

Market Eye

Market Eye

Sensex, Nifty rise to record after China, ECB stimulus boosts risk appetite.  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device  Full Coverage