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Offline Yrys

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US resists Karzai poll date call - BBC News
« on: March 01, 2009, 19:13:14 »
thread about Irak election here


US resists Karzai poll date call, Sunday, 1 March 2009

The US has reiterated it prefers an August date for presidential elections in Afghanistan,
despite President Hamid Karzai's call for polls on 21 April. The US state department said
elections in August would best ensure a free vote in a secure environment.

On Saturday, Mr Karzai called for polls before his term ends in May. The Afghan
Independent Elections Commission says elections should be held by 20 August.
The president has no power to unilaterally choose election dates. But his term of
office ends on 21 May, potentially creating a constitutional crisis if polls are held
much later.

According to Article 61 of Afghanistan's constitution, elections should be held 30
to 60 days before 22 May, the end of Mr Karzai's five-year term.

The Independent Election Commission (IEC) says there is a contradiction between
the constitution and electoral law which meant the president could stay in power
until October - five years after he won the last election - or December, five years
after he took his oath of office, Reuters news agency reported.

International monitors have said it would be difficult to hold a fair election by April
because of security concerns, bad weather and the logistical challenges of getting
ballots.

'Orderly process'

In Washington, state department spokesman Robert Wood said the US supports the
"underlying principles articulated by President Karzai" for the elections to be held in
April. However, Mr Wood said the US "reiterates" its view that elections in August,
as proposed by the Independent Elections Commission, "is the best means to assure
every Afghan citizen would be able to express his or her political preference in a
secure environment".

Afghanistan requires "an orderly, open and democratic process that ensures continuity
of government through the election period to maintain political stability," he added.

Mr Karzai has been under considerable pressure over the delay and has been accused
of using it to illegally extend his rule in breach of the constitution, says the BBC's Ian
Pannell in Kabul.

Now he has put the onus for deciding when the vote should be held, and ultimately who
runs the country in the event of a delay, back at the feet of the commission and his
opponents, our correspondent says.

The US and other members of the international community supported the IEC's
recommendation for an August poll, as the 17,000 foreign troops expected to bolster
peacekeeping forces can be used to secure voting stations from the Taleban, reports say.
IEC chief Azizullah Ludin said that 20 August was chosen for the presidential polls after
consultations with Afghan and international security forces. "They told us there will be
new security forces here... and they will guarantee security," Mr Ludin told a news
conference in Kabul in January.

Afghanistan continues to experience militant attacks and suicide bombings by the Taleban,
who were ousted from power in the US-led invasion of 2001.
Louvre website

"Happiness is beneficial for the body, but it is grief that develops the powers of the mind."  Marcel Proust

Offline Yrys

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Re: US resists Karzai poll date call - BBC News
« Reply #1 on: March 02, 2009, 23:11:29 »
UN concern over Afghan elections

A senior UN official says it will be nearly impossible to hold credible elections
in Afghanistan in April, as ordered by President Karzai.

Alain le Roy said organising elections before August would be very difficult for
logistical and technical reasons, and the prevailing security situation. Mr Karzai
has called for polls before his term ends in May. Poll authorities say it should be
held by 20 August.

The president has no power to unilaterally choose election dates. But his term of
office ends on 21 May, potentially creating a constitutional crisis if polls are held
much later.

According to Article 61 of Afghanistan's constitution, elections should be held 30
to 60 days before 22 May, the end of Mr Karzai's five-year term. Some observers
see this announcement as a clever political manoeuvre by the president. Mr Karzai's
decision has also been criticised by the United States, which is planning to send
more troops to Afghanistan, who will not arrive in time unless the election is
delayed.

"Almost impossible'

Now the UN's head of peacekeeping operations, Alain le Roy, has said it would be
very difficult to hold elections in April. "We consider it .. almost impossible to get
credible elections in April," said Mr Le Roy. "At the same time, we understand there
must be a consensus within the Afghans on the best constitutional way, or best way
in conformity with the constitution, he added. "We consider the debate is not closed.
But our position is clear: we consider the date set was the right one."

International monitors have said it would be difficult to hold a fair election by April
because of security concerns, bad weather and the logistical challenges of getting
ballots.

Mr Karzai has been under considerable pressure over the delay and has been
accused of using it to illegally extend his rule in breach of the constitution, says
the BBC's Ian Pannell in Kabul. Now he has put the onus for deciding when the
vote should be held, and ultimately who runs the country in the event of a delay,
back at the feet of the commission and his opponents, our correspondent says.

The US and other members of the international community supported the Independent
Elections Commission's recommendation for an August poll, as the 17,000 foreign troops
expected to bolster peacekeeping forces can be used to secure voting stations from the
Taleban, reports say.

IEC chief Azizullah Ludin said that 20 August was chosen for the presidential polls after
consultations with Afghan and international security forces. "They told us there will be
new security forces here... and they will guarantee security," Mr Ludin told a news
conference in Kabul in January.

Afghanistan continues to experience militant attacks and suicide bombings by the Taleban,
who were ousted from power in the US-led invasion of 2001.
Louvre website

"Happiness is beneficial for the body, but it is grief that develops the powers of the mind."  Marcel Proust