Afghanistan’s Ghani wins second term as president

Afghanistan’s President Ashraf Ghani was declared on Tuesday the winner, after months of delay, of elections held last September.

Hava Alam Nuristani, the chief election commissioner, said Ghani secured 50.64% of votes fulfilling the minimum requirement.

“I hereby declare Mohammad Ashraf Ghani as the elected president of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan for the next five years,” she said.

Earlier on Tuesday, Sediq Sediqqi, spokesman for the president, told a news conference the next move for the government is to form an inclusive team for talks with the Taliban after an expected deal between the insurgents and the U.S. later this month.

“About the details of the reduction in violence, on how to implement it, the Afghan security forces are working in close collaboration with the U.S. partners,” he said.

According to initial results announced in December, Ghani secured the minimum 50%-plus-one-vote in the first round, leaving no room for a rerun.

His main rival, Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah came second with 39.5% of votes and veteran Mujahideen leader Gulbuddin Hekmatyar gained 3.8% of the total vote cast. Both rejected the initial results.

Similarly troubled presidential polls in 2014 delivered a weak and divided national unity government under Ghani and Abdullah — when the country was pushed to the edge of disorder amid withdrawal of some 100,000 foreign troops.

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