Dispatches

AAN Election Blog No. 24: Stuffing and Counting in Paktia

A few days after the election, Paktia is in counting mode. Results from the districts trickle in and are collected and reconcilied by the different candidates’ campaigns. Also reports about a lot of irregularities are coming in, despite the low coverage of independent election observers. On the first two days after the election, Afghans in […]

AAN Election Blog No. 23: How much are we expected to believe?

As journalists are starting to pack up and go home and observers are formulating their conclusions (some irregularities, need to work on the voter registration) it seems that the real contest is yet to start. The network of governors, district governors, police chiefs and local commanders, that was mobilised in the run up to the […]

A clarification

Some German-language media have quoted me over the past days as saying that the turn-out during the Afghan presidential elections was ‘low except in the urban centres’. This seems to indicate that I spoke about all of Afghanistan. In fact, I said that this assessment only referred to South-Eastern Afghanistan, with the four provinces of […]

AAN Election Blog No. 22: E-Day in P2K

Frankly, when I went to bed on E-Day eve in Gardez, on Wednesday, I wasn’t sure whether it was a good idea to leave the UNAMA compound the next day to watch polling sites in Paktia province. A lot of people looked very sceptical when I mentioned this idea. Gardez centre was the maximum, almost […]

AAN Election Blog No. 20: Armchair analyst

Distance can provide perspective, at least that is what armchair analysts like myself try to convince ourselves. However, having monitored two elections in Afghanistan, I know that distance also means that one misses the political undercurrents and the real stories behind facts and figures. During the first Presidential elections, Bob Dylan’s song ‘Black Diamond Bay’ […]

AAN Electoral Blog No. 19: The day before the 2009 elections

Kabul 19 August 2009. The day started with a several hour shoot-out in Kabul’s old centre after a handful of armed men attacked a bank. The attack was claimed by a Taliban spokesperson and the story that was passed around was that the Taliban had entered the city and that fighting had started, which sounded […]

AAN Electoral Blog No. 18: Some last minute figures

Last minute figures indicate that there will be no voting in nine districts; that it is still not clear how many polling station are planned to be open (the ambiguity could lead to ‘ghost polling’), and that FEFA observers will cover roughly 60% of the country’s districts. Complaints received by the ECC show marked regional […]

AAN Electoral Blog No. 17: Voter Turnout – stating the obvious

Some things are so obvious that you almost forget to mention them. This is one of them: voter turnout and what that tells us about voter engagement and the credibility of the elections. The answer is: very little. The turnout figures which will be announced shortly after initial counting data has been gathered tell us […]

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