The results from the Afghan presidential elections were announced on 26 April, three weeks after polls were conducted. As most predicted, they indicated a runoff between the two top candidates: the former foreign minister, Abdullah Abdullah, and the former finance minister and chairman of the Transition Coordination Committee, Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai. The runoff is likely to take place at the end of May, after which history will be made with a peaceful transfer of power for the first time in Afghanistan.
In the year preceding these elections, there was considerable cynicism about the process from various pundits in the domestic and international media. As international organisations pulled out their observers barely days before the polls, the international media began to cast doubt on the election process with headlines like ‘Credibility of Afghan Vote in Doubt as Observers Flee Violence,’ as seen in the New York Times.
Rumours ran rampant that the incumbent president, Hamid Karzai, would not let elections take place. The bazaars and Western diplomatic circles were abuzz with gossip that President Karzai would bring in new legislation through parliament that would allow him to stay in power for more than the two terms stipulated by the current law of the land.