Thursday, August 27, 2009
First Secretary Political, Kabul
We, like everyone in Afghanistan, are in suspense, waiting for the election results. I attended the first of the long-awaited IEC press conferences on Tuesday 25 August, to announce the first 10% of results for the presidential elections. Everyone was there, from journalists to researchers, to election observers and diplomats. The atmosphere was buzzing, with journalists deep in conversations with contacts at the corners of the room before the conference started, and everyone comparing notes so far.
We all eagerly scribbled down the figures when they finally arrived, in Dari and English, checking with each other on decimal points and provinces. Journalists were the first to start calculating what they might mean for the overall turnout and result, ready for release on the wires - although it remains guesswork at this stage.
Earlier this week I visited the National Tally Centre, where all the results from the provinces are being collated. Beneath an imposing looking hangar in the IEC compound is an impressive data entry centre, with lots of young people sitting at computer screens tapping away at keyboards. I chatted to a couple of the candidate agents observing in the gallery section, and asked them where the results had come in from, and whether any had been quarantined. After one candidate agent moved the conversation on to Iranian pop music, I beat a hasty retreat.
I’ve just been looking at the new website www.iec.org.af/results, with an attractive interactive map, but again, just not quite enough information to draw conclusions on the overall results. I and my colleagues will continue to follow the results through the IEC website and their press conferences - the crawl up the hill to the Intercontinental for those is made up for by its striking views over Kabul.