Interim Afghan leader Hamid Karzai was today declared winner of the first direct presidential elections in Afghanistan’s history. Citizens of that county, who lived under hardline Taliban rule for more than a decade, went to the polls on October 9. Official results have been held up while the U.N.-Afghan Joint Electoral Management Body investigated allegations of fraud.

Karzai won over 55 percent of the vote, easily avoiding a runoff election that would have been required if no candidate had earned a majority.

Nearly 80 percent of registered voters went to the polls in Afghanistan, despite bad weather and insurgent attacks. Of note, that is about 20 percent higher than voter participation this year in the United States—our highest turnout since 1968.