Afghanistan was supposed to release preliminary results from its June 14 presidential runoff this week. Instead, it delayed them until next week to give its Independent Election Commission time to audit ballots from 1,930 polling stations in 30 provinces.
That investigation offers one of the last chances to dispel the acrimony and uncertainty that have hung over what could yet be a signal of triumph for Afghanistan's fledgling democracy: a peaceful transfer of power engineered by millions of voters defying Taliban threats of violence and disruption. For that to happen, however, the two candidates former Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah and former Finance Minister Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai must be willing to accept the results, which even under the best-case scenario will be imperfect.
The runoff election triggered more than 2,500 alleged violations by both campaigns involving everything from intimidation and ballot stuffing to underage voting. Abdullah, who won the first round, has complained of grossly inflated turnout figures that point to huge fraud.