Afghanistan Analysts Network – English

Political Landscape

An election observer speaks out

Thomas Ruttig 2 min

‘Really widespread fraud‘ has happened during the Afghan presidential election, says Gunter Mulack, a former German diplomat and director of the German Orient Institute in Hamburg; until a few days ago he was the chief political analyst of the EU election observer mission…

… led by MEP Phillipe Morillon, a former French general. Mulack added after his return to Berlin that over 700,000 of the almost 5.5 million counted and tallied votes are suspicious. In 2451 of the 19,000 tallied polling stations one candidate received more than 90 per cent of the votes. In 214 stations the number of votes cast exceeded the expected number of eligible voters.

‘In elections in third world countries, there is fraud’, this is ‘normal’. As long as it is around 5 per cent [of the vote], this is ‘acceptable’, but beyond the 10 per cent threshold it puts the election in doubt.

Neither before nor during the elections were there signs of such massive fraud, according to Mulack. But in certain areas, in particular in the South, due to the precarious security situation there were no foreign observers. He added that evidence had come in of voting stations which never opened on polling day, or where ballot boxes vanished for several days afterwards. He said the scale of poll fraud made it doubtful that the Afghan people would recognize the result.

Sources: ARD (German TV) and euronews, 10 Sept 2009

And here, in contrast, the one and only statement the German government issued about the Afghan elections yet, dated 21 August 2009:

‘Afghanistan has voted
Millions of Afghanen avowed themselves to peace and democracy in their country by participating in the elections. By that, they rebuffed attempts by the Taleban to push the country into chaos. A comprehensive assessment of the elections is not possible yet because the final result will be known on 17 September only. The security situation on election-day was better than expected in the run-up, as international observers and the Afghan Independent Election Commission report. The Federal Government considers the elections also as a confirmation of its own Afghanistan policy. It will continue to support the establishment of a stable and economically sustainable state.’

Additionally, here a summary of other statements from the German government and the Bundestag by a German radio station:

‘Pointing to the tense security situation, the chairman of the Bundestag’s Foreign Affairs Committee Rupert Polenz (CDU) hailed the courage of those Afghans who, despite threats of violence, had participated in the poll. He warned to cast doubt on the “democratic capacity” of Afghans. Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Gernot Erler (SPD) said he was relieved that the Taleban have not been able to prevent the elections from taking place. He had greatest respect for those Afghan citizens that had cast their votes. Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier called each vote cast a “vote for democracy”.’

Does this refer to all votes found in the ballot boxes or only to the ones really cast by real voters – which might amount to 2-2.5 million only, as even Afghans close to the President admit?


Democratization Elections Government