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Opinion: Serious Questions Concerning the Preliminary Results and Suggested Changes to the Afghan Electoral System

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DISCLAIMER – The opinions expressed in this publication are those of the authors. They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of The Khaama Press News Agency. We welcome opinions and submissions to Khaama Press Opinions/Exclusives – Please email them to info@khaama.com.

An Afghan man attends a campaign rally for Abdullah Abdullah, the chief executive of Afghanistan, in Bamiyan on Sept. 25 (Photo by Paula Bronstein/Getty Images ) PAULA BRONSTEIN/GETTY IMAGES

I write this article because I am a strong believer in free, fair and transparent elections, I have had students and friends die in Afghanistan partly fighting for such elections.

No one ever expected after the Bonn Meetings of 2001, which established the political roadmap for Afghanistan’s political future, that the realization of a democratic Afghan country would be easy. Numerous scholarly studies have suggested that “democracy” is extremely difficult to achieve by any developing country but it is especially challenging for a country that has virtually been in armed conflict nearly forty years.

The actual political road map ascertained was extremely ambitious with tremendous and significant changes expected over a short period of time. Initially Bonn called for National, Provincial and Local elections to be held simultaneously in April 2004. The United Nations suggested that the initial Wolesi Jirga (legislative) Elections might be the most “difficult elections ever held” with their complexity and an on-going conflict environment. The Wolesi Jirga elections were postponed until mid-September 2005 with the National Presidential Election being scheduled in April 2004, but eventually held on 9 October 2004.

Hamid Karzai easily won the initial Presidential Election that replaced the transitional government he led with more than 75% of 12 million registered voters casting ballots. Karzai received 55.4% of the vote – three times greater than any other candidate. The UN’s Joint Electoral Management Body oversaw the election that was generally praised by the international community.

This election represented a massive logistics effort to supply all 4,800 polling stations using over 30,000 ballot boxes. The complexity of this election not only involved the logistics of voting during a time of conflict but also getting the ballots counted. More than 2,000 trucks, four Mi8 helicopters, 135........

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