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Final Afghan election results show Hazara minority trumped dominant Pashtuns

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In Ghazni, the last remaining constituency to be counted, preliminary results indicated that all 11 seats went to Hazara candidates, even though the province has a slim majority of Pashtuns with significant Hazara and Tajik minorities. Officials estimate it will be another week before they have official results due to the closure of numerous other polling stations, as well as other election-day irregularities, such as one district that only counted three votes.

Wardak province also saw a surge in Hazara representation. Though the region is predominately home to Pashtuns, three of the five seats went to Hazaras.

All this is a serious concern for many of the country’s Pashtuns, who allege that they are now underrepresented, especially in Wardak and Ghazni.

The Hazaras’ victory, however, is unlikely to spark ethnic strife. Instead, it may cast further doubt on the fairness and representativeness of the elections. Ethnically imbalanced results suggest to some Afghans a process that was either not truly democratic or, at worst, rigged.

Allegations of fraud still loom heavy over the election, with doubts remaining about whether today's announced results will be accepted.

Hours before the IEC publicized the results, a number of candidates launched a demonstration protesting what they say was a corrupt and fraudulent election.

Such demonstrations have been commonplace since the elections took place on Sept. 18 and nearly one-quarter of all 5.6 million votes were thrown out due to fraud.

Was the Hazara vote fair?

The enthusiastic participation of Hazaras versus the lackluster turnout among other ethnic groups – particularly Pashtuns – has created competing narratives since voting day.

Hazaras have faced historical oppression in Afghanistan. Their suffering under the Taliban regime and their newfound rights under the current Constitution has made the community an ardent supporter of the democratic process. Hazaras turned out to vote in force.

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