Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird praised the high turnout in Afghanistan’s first democratic presidential election Saturday.
Despite threats from the Taliban to derail the election, more than seven of the country's 12 million eligible voters, or 58%, dipped their fingers in ink and cast ballots. According to media reports, only 4.5 million turned out for the last election in 2009, which was broadly seen as fraudulent.
“Canada congratulates the Afghan people for courageously taking to the polls, in high numbers, exercising their right to vote during the presidential and provincial council elections,” Baird said in a statement.
For comparison, Elections Canada reports 61% voter turnout in Canada’s last general election in 2011.
The successor to President Hamid Karzai won’t be known for six weeks.
Baird, an advocate of women’s rights abroad, praised the high turnout among women and expressed hope for a new Afghanistan “where the voices of all Afgha