Flashback: I was ordered to cover up President Karzai election fraud, sacked UN envoy says | EU observers say a third of Karzai’s votes might be suspect due to fraud | Afghan vote called ‘mockery’ | Accusations over Afghan vote rigging | Has Karzai overstayed his welcome? | Britain and US prepared to open talks with the Taliban | Afghan President Karzai registers for re-election, picks warlord as running mate | Afghanistan needs 4,000 extra soldiers for elections: NATO | Canadian troops could soon target Afghan drug trade: top soldier | Reports reveal concerns over drug use among Canadian military | Afghan government sacks Kandahar governor | US faces downward spiral in Afghan war, says leaked intelligence report | NATO to let troops fight Afghan drug lords | Karzai’s kin linked to heroin trafficking | Afghani Narco-state Continues to Blossom under Puppet President
October 16, 2009
Election commission audit of first vote expected to show President Hamid Karzai with less than the 50 per cent needed to win
The controversy-plagued Afghan election appears headed to a second vote, reports out of the United States said Thursday.
Said Tayeb Jawad, the Afghan ambassador in Washington, told reporters that his government is preparing for Afghanistan’s Independent Election Commission to announce on Saturday that a run-off election would be necessary.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai took about 55 per cent of the ballots in the first round which was held on August 20. He needs just 50 per cent to win.
But The Washington Post, citing unnamed sources, said the investigation by the Election Complaints Commission, which is investigating the extent of the fraud that is acknowledged to have taken place, will drop him to about 47 per cent.
The report by the ECC was to have been submitted to the Independent Election Commission late this week.
But Grant Kippen, the Canadian member of the commission, said Friday morning that “there has not been any unofficial/official announcement or communication to the IEC regarding the audit and recount outcome. We are not releasing any information as we still need to verify the numbers, which should be completed today.”
Under Afghan’s election rules, a new vote must take place within two weeks if there is no clear winner announced at the end of the EEC’s audit. Ballots have already been printed in case such a second vote is necessary.
But many say the logistical nightmare of organizing a new round to take place in this country — where more than a thousand polling stations could not open the first time because of security issues — will make that time-frame impossible.
It is also questionable whether Afghans will even turn out a second time. While military officials were pleased that the level of violence during the August vote was less than anticipated, people were killed and had their thumbs cut off for marking a ballot.
Many say they will not risk their lives a second time.
Some observers have pegged the extent of the fraud at about 30 per cent. But Mr. Karzai says those estimates are “totally fabricated.”
While supporters of all candidates are believed to have taken part in the vote-rigging, the amount of improper conduct committed by those aligned with Mr. Karzai is said to be much greater than that attributed to his closest competitor, Abdullah Abdullah.
Shokaria Barakzai, a member of the Afghan parliament, says all of the people running for president have been engaged in fraud.
“Some of the pro-Karzai people are working just for themselves and their pocket,” said Ms. Barakzai.
But it was not Mr. Karzai himself who rigged the election, she said.
“It’s really a good excuse to put all of the responsibility on the shoulders of Karzai. Karzai is just one individual. If anyone believes Karzai is a team, they are absolutely wrong. If they believe Karzai is a party, they’re absolutely wrong. If they believe Karzai is a network, they are absolutely wrong.”
Supporters of Mr. Abdullah, on the other hand, say they believe the presidency was stolen from their candidate, who attracted large crowds in the days leading up to the vote.
There has been some discussion of power sharing but Mr. Abdullah has said he will not join a government led by Mr. Karzai. And there is some fear that his supporters will turn to violence if the results are not deemed fair.
The protracted election process has also caused headaches for the international community that has sent troops to this country to assist the government in fighting the Taliban. The prolonged instability has made it difficult for U.S. President Barack Obama to announce an increase in American troop levels.
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