Thursday, January 29, 2009
By Steven L. Taylor

Via the NYT: Afghan Presidential Election Delayed

Afghan officials said Thursday that they had decided to postpone the country’s presidential election until August, saying they needed more time to prepare. But the decision, which appeared to contravene Afghanistan’s constitution, raised doubts about the legitimacy of what could be President Hamid Karzai’s final months in office.

According to the piece, the Karzai’s constitutionally delimited term of office expires on May 22, and further the constitution requires elections 30-60 days before the end of said term. Postponing elections for several months seems to me to be an unconstitutional extension of his term, an act that isn’t a good sign for governance in post-Taliban Afghanistan.

There will, of course, be political repercussions:

Citing the constitution, leaders of the parliamentary opposition to President Karzai said they would stop recognizing his authority after May 22. They called on the United Nations and Western governments to help them appoint a temporary president after Mr. Karzai’s term formally expires.

“After May 22, Karzai’s continuation will not be legitimate for either us or the Afghan people,” said Aqa Fazil Sancharki, a spokesman for the United Front, whose members control about a third of the 241 seats in the lower house of Parliament.

It will be interesting to see this unfolds.

Also worth noting from the story: “Of the 364 districts around the country, 84 are not safe enough to hold an election: according to the chairman of the Independent Election Commission, Azizullah Ludin.

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One Response to “Delay in Afghan Presidential Elections”

  1. MSS Says:

    For whatever it might be worth, BBC radio reported that there is a clause in the constitution that allows for an extension in case of security problems. Seems like a too-neat loophole to me, but also reality.

    I assume this also postpones legislative elections. I think that both were to be held concurrently this year.

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