Gender Concerns would like to congratulate the people of Afghanistan for turning out in large numbers to support the democratic transition of the country’s president.
There is still much work to be done, but the fact women were reported to have comprised about one-third of voters is an encouraging sign of progress. Women played a more prominent role in this election than in previous contests. One presidential candidate had a female running mate for election, and women had been actively addressing campaign crowds. This is the first time that women have been on a ballot for national office.
The total number of voters was about 7 million, even with pre-election violence and threats of further attacks and fraud. In fact, one problem on election day was the large number of peoples arriving at polling stations to cast their vote. There were some incidents of intimidation and violence, especially at polling stations in rural areas, but a number of media reports are calling the vote a success.
The Afghan people are electing a successor to President Hamid Karzai after his 12 years in office, and this handover has the potential to be the first peaceful, democratic transfer of power in the country. This comes at a pivotal time of the international troop withdrawal that has sparked concern of instability.