Summary: November 3, 2004: Declaration by the Presidency on behalf of the European Union on the results of the Presidential elections in Afghanistan (Brussels)
The European Union extends its warmest congratulations to Hamid Karzai on his victory in the first direct presidential elections ever in Afghanistan. The European Union also expresses its admiration of the Afghan men and women for their eagerness and resolve to cast their ballots. It is of the opinion that this is a truly historic occasion and that the large voter turn-out gives the newly elected President a strong, legitimate mandate and is the proof of the Afghan people's great enthusiasm
for participation in the democratic process.
The European Union also congratulates all those who were involved in organising and securing these elections in very challenging circumstances. Without denying the existence of a certain number of irregularities and shortcomings, the European Union commends the Afghan Electoral Commission and UNAMA for their succesful handling of this unprecedented electoral process.
The European Union notes the finding of the impartial panel of international electoral experts appointed to investigate the complaints and welcomes their assessment that any irregularities did not affect the democratic choice of the Afghan people. The European Union's Democracy and Election Support Mission will also publish its report and recommendations shortly. It will be important to apply the lessons learnt from these and other reports in the preparations for future elections.
The European Union encourages the President to form a strong and broad based cabinet that will foster the social and economic development of the country and will tackle the challenges ahead: counter-narcotics, building state institutions, including the Afghan National Army and police force, and disarming the militias. Looking to the next, equally important, stage in the democratisation process, the European Union urges all stakeholders to start logistical and administrative preparations for parliamentary and local elections, scheduled for April/May 2005, without delay.
The European Union reiterates that it will remain a reliable, committed partner of Afghanistan with a long-term involvement in the country's reconstruction, development and stabilisation.
The Candidate Countries Bulgaria, Romania, Turkey and Croatia*, the Countries of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidates Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Serbia and Montenegro, and the EFTA countries Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway, members of the European Economic Area, align themselves with this declaration.
* Croatia continues to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.