“The participation of men and women across the country demonstrates, once again, the commitment of the Afghan people to shape the future of their country and to reject violence and intimidation,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in a statement from his spokesperson.
The presidential election marks the first-ever transfer of power from one elected leader to another in Afghan history.
Voters were choosing between Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai to succeed President Hamid Karzai. Neither of the candidates achieved the necessary 50 per cent plus one result on 5 April.
“With the same determination, resilience and courage the world saw in the first round of elections, the people of Afghanistan today once again decided to take their destiny in their own hands and demonstrate their desire for a peaceful, prosperous, and united Afghanistan,” said Mr. Ban’s Special Representative for Afghanistan, Ján Kubiš. “For this, they should be congratulated.”
Mr. Kubiš, who is also the head of the UN Assistance Mission in the country (UNAMA), also praised the “competence and dedication” of the Afghan National Security Forces, who enabled voting to take place without major disruptions.
With the votes now to be counted, Mr. Kubiš urged the candidates to make national unity and inclusivity their top priorities to serve the interests of the Afghan people.