Sunday, October 03, 2004
Will there be an Oct. 9 election in Afghanistan?
There are actually two national elections scheduled for October 9—one in Australia, the other in Afghanistan. I'm more certain that the Aussies will hold their election than I am that we will hold ours. The Afghani election is another matter.
It has been widely reported that the 10.5 million voters registered in Afghanistan exceed the number of citizens eligible to vote. With Bush's hand in it, what would you expect?
But the International Organization of Migration (IOM) is trying to register Afghani refugees in foreign lands—principally Pakistan and Iran. According to Pakistan's Daily Times, there are a potential 800,000 voters in Pakistan and another 600,000 in Iran. The refugees are expected to constitute up to 10% of the vote.
The Times reports,
The upcoming presidential elections in Afghanistan are likely to be postponed because of the sluggish response by 800,000 potential voters living as refugees in Pakistan during the first two days of the three-day registration period. Preliminary figures released by the International Organisation for Migration, which is overseeing the registration process, indicated that only 140,000 refugees registered on the first day (Friday). Official sources told Daily Times that a decision on whether to postpone the elections or not would be taken on either Sunday (today) or Monday....Some of the presidential candidates have demanded that the participation of Afghan refugees in Pakistan must be ensured.
Meanwhile, the AP reports that Afghanistan's president Hamid Karzai has left for Germany to receive a "United We Care" award given for "outstanding accomplishment in politics, economics, society and culture." Karzai's outstanding accomplishment in politics has been to stay alive.
According to the AP, he has managed this feat mostly by staying out of the country during the fall "campaign." The trip to Berlin was his third trip outside Afghanistan in the month of September. When not traveling abroad, he stays holed up in Kabul—
Karzai, the overwhelming favorite among 18 presidential hopefuls, has rarely emerged from his palace during the campaign to visit his own country, largely due to security concerns.
Bush, of course, is hoping to showcase the Afghani election as one of his accomplishments in the international arena. As is common for Bush-sponsored events, it's taking on the appearance of a farce in search of a plot.