Afghanistan votes for a new president, despite Taliban threats

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Voting was largely peaceful in Afghanistan’s presidential election on Saturday, with only isolated attacks on polling stations as a country racked by decades of chaos embarked on its first ever democratic transfer of power.

Most people expect the election will be better run than the chaotic 2009 vote that handed the outgoing president, Hamid Karzai, a second term amid massive fraud and ballot stuffing.

The stronger the next president’s mandate, the less vulnerable Afghanistan could be to instability. One major concern is that it could take several months for a winner to be declared at a time when the country desperately needs a leader to stem rising violence as foreign troops prepare to leave.

About 12 million are eligible to vote in the election, and there are eight candidates, with former foreign ministers Abdullah Abdullah and Zalmay Rassoul, and former finance minister Ashraf Ghani the favorites. – Reuters