In Afghanistan's Runoff Presidential Election, Both Candidates Seem to Think They're in the Lead

Apparently all is not well in the wake of Afghanistan's presidential election, because both candidates think they're winning. Awkward. That's not exactly a recipe for a cut-and-dry winner. Reuters reports that both Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani have issued statements suggesting they're in the lead in the wake of a runoff election on Saturday. That's led the United Nations to urge them to stop jostling for the win and just wait until the votes are counted to declare victory.

A UN staffer in Afghanistan, Nicholas Haysom, said in a statement that the Afghanistan election, unlike the World Cup games in Brazil, wasn't a game.

There is a great responsibility on both candidates to behave as statesmen and not behave like sportsmen – it's not a World Cup, it's a contest for the leadership of the country.

But that hasn't stopped Abdullah, a former leader of Afghanistan's opposition party, from saying his supporters were illegally prevented from observing the election and instead ended up in jail. He apparently said as much in a news conference, according to The New York Times:

People participated in the second round but the turnout in no way was as much as released by the election commission given the security situation. Our observers were beaten and sent to jail. They were not given sheets to file complaints. We will not accept the announced turnout if it is not documented and substantiated.
Scott Olson/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Abdullah's opponent, Ghani, is also a former government official. His statements weren't quite as incendiary as Abdullah's, but people working with him also reportedly said he'd won after the runoff.

The elections took place in wake of continuing violence in the country, though the Guardian and the UN both said the elections went off mostly without a hitch. Still, CNN reports that 150 attacks occurred throughout Afghanistan on the day of the runoff.