The UN-sponsored Electoral Complaints Commission in Afghanistan has determined that after fraudulent ballots are thrown out, incumbent Hamid Karzai received less than 50% of the vote, forcing him into a runoff with challenger Abdullah Abdullah.
Karzai is now expected to accept on Tuesday that he must face a second round of elections, though over the weekend he was making noises about standing firm and refusing to accept the ECC verdict. This intransigence probably in itself delayed President Barack Obama’s decision on whether to send more troops to Afghanistan, since he could hardly decently do so to support a corrupt and discredited government that stole the election no less surely than had Ahmadinejad in Iran.
Update Karzai just formally acquiesced in the runoff, which has been set for November 7.
CBS reports this morning on the pressure applied to Karzai by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Sen. John Kerry.
ITV reports on the downside of having a runoff election in Afghanistan, including the potential for violence. When the runoff is held this fall, it will exclude many Afghans who live in snowy places or high altitudes, since winter is arriving in some of the country. There is also danger of Pashtun- Tajik violence, since the two ethnic groups are backing different candidates.
Aljazeera English has video on the ECC decision and its tussle with the local, Karzai appointed electoral commission.
On Iranian official television, outspoken MP George Galloway debates Dr Michael Williams, an Afghanistan expert at Royal Holloway College who has advised President Obama. Galloway argues that people are dying like flies in Afghanistan and that hopes for “developing” the country by military might are ‘doomed.’
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