The LAT lays out the basic facts around the postponement of parliamentary elections in Afghanistan. The Afghan press stresses two factors aboveall:
Afghanpaper.com writing in Dari Persian says it was told by concerned Afghan officials who declined to allow their names to be used that the four-month delay was almost entirely a result of pressure from the Obama administration and its Western allies, and was aimed at allowing UN election workers to allow for anti-fraud and anti-corruption measures to be taken so as to forestall a fiasco like the August presidential election, where substantial numbers of ballots were disqualified.
In addition, the electoral commission says it only has $70 mn. in the kitty to hold the parliamentary elections, which will cost $120. President Hamid Karzai is asking the international community for the other $50 mn., so presumably he had the Independent Electoral Commission make this announcement now so that he can go hat in hand to international donors at the Istanbul and London conferences. So the postponement is being positioned by Karzai and his people as a fundraising stunt (the political scientists would speak of the extraction of strategic rent).
But Afghanpaper.com suggests that the money shortfall is only a cover story, and if we took that position seriously it would indicate that the Obama team just does not want another election fiasco in Afghanistan in the build-up to the 2010 midterms.
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