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Afghan crunch election underway

Saturday, June 14, 2014 - 01:44

June 14 - Afghans head to the polls in the second round of voting to elect a new president. Paul Chapman reports.

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Abdullah Abdullah votes in Afghanistan's second round of presidential elections in which he's a contender. (SOUNDBITE) (English) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE ABDULLAH ABDULLAH SAYING: "My message to the people of Afghanistan is that today is your day, today is our day and today is Afghanistan's day and a better future is waiting for them, a better prosperous life is waiting for them, peaceful life is waiting for them." His rival Ashraf Ghani is the only competition in this two-horse race for a job few would envy. (SOUNDBITE) (English) AFGHAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE ASHRAF GHANI SAYING: "This time it is a clear choice between two leaders with different visions, different experience, two teams, committed to different ideals." One of them will take over from outgoing President Hamid Karzai. The winner will inherit an unfinished war and an economy in the doldrums. The Taliban are still strong and Afghanistan's foreign-trained army has never put to rest questions about its effectiveness. Some voters were optimistic about the outcome. (SOUNDBITE) (Dari) BIBI FATUMA, WOMAN VOTER SAYING: "We came here to vote for the future of Afghanistan, and the future of my children. I am glad that I have the chance to cast my vote and choose my leader. We have decided to put the past behind us, we are looking for a better future." From windswept deserts on the Iranian border to the remote, rugged Hindu Kush mountains, 12 million people were eligible to take part in Saturday's poll. A high turnout of nearly 60 percent in the first round was a major defeat for the Taliban. Observers expect fewer than five million this time, partly because of security concerns.

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Afghan crunch election underway

Saturday, June 14, 2014 - 01:44