İrem UZUN -TDO- Ashraf Ghani has been officially declared the winner of Afghanistan's presidential elections, nearly five months after the poll took place on September 28 of last year. Five months after Afghans went to the polls to choose a new president, election authorities have declared the incumbent, Ashraf Ghani, the winner, but his main opponent has rejected the result and said he will form his own “inclusive government”.

After a heavily contested poll, Ghani officially scraped just over 50% of votes, averting a second-round run-off. But hours after the election results were announced, rival Abdullah Abdullah declared himself the victor. The dispute sets Afghanistan up for a difficult political showdown at a critical time. Nowadays, the U.S. is closing in on a withdrawal agreement with the Taliban, which should pave the way for “intra-Afghan talks” with the government in Kabul. 

The results were delayed because of widespread allegations of fraud, which meant that hundreds of thousands of votes had to undergo recounts and an auditing process. Election commission chief Hawa Alam Nuristani announced the result during a press conference in Kabul. She said 137,000 votes classed as suspicious and 12,012 votes cast outside polling hours had been found to be valid during a special audit. She said: "May the God help him in serving the people of Afghanistan... I also pray that peace comes to our country."

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