Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION
Posted: 06/18/2014 3:17 PM | Comments: 0
WASHINGTON — After an impressively smooth first round of voting in April and a relatively stable run-off vote involving 7 million people over the weekend, it’s now starting to look like the wheels are coming off what is hoped will be Afghanistan’s first peaceful transfer of power.
Abdullah Abdullah, the former foreign minister who led after the first round of voting, is now alleging widespread fraud, saying the system is rigged to benefit his rival, former World Bank economist Ashraf Ghani. In addition to ballot-stuffing, he says that a number of his campaign’s observers have been detained and that outgoing President Hamid Karzai has been interfering in the campaign. He has suspended cooperation with the country’s’ election commission and is now calling for the U.N. to adjudicate.
An Abdullah campaign official alleged "industrial-scale fraud" aimed at maintaining Karzai’s influence after he steps down or engineering a situation where he will stay in power. Street demonstrations seem likely in the coming days.
Abdullah was extremely confident of a wide margin of victory in a Skype conversation with journalists and think tank scholars in Washington last week, dismissing polls showing the gap between him and Ghani shrinking.
Even the election commission itself acknowledges that incidents of fraud were widespread, though not on the scale of Karzai’s controversial 2009 reelection over Abdullah. (This is, admittedly, a low bar.) International observers have been more hands-off this time around. Preliminary results are expected on July 2.
While we should be wary about drawing parallels with a very different country, the last two weeks’ events in Iraq will certainly heighten concerns about the Afghan state’s stability as the U.S. draws down its troop presence. If a significant portion of the country feels this election — which has already seen longstanding ethnic tensions exacerbated — is illegitimate, those concerns will become even more pressing.
Having problems with the form?Contact Us Directly
U.S. not free of Vietnam’s shadow
Putin more likely to escalate than back down
Harper's sitting pretty despite talk about exit
South Sudan needs aid to avert famine
Blameless Russian firms will suffer most
Lying and finding sexier ways to do it
Untapped potential turned into maple alternative
Time right for indigenous sporting body
Victory in Gaza hard to define
Crisis in Ukraine could impact Canadian farmers
Time to brew up Manitoba craft beer biz
Sporting demagogues get all the breaks
Same old games on Palin Channel
Minority Christian Arabs are on the move
Strong, active board vital to police oversight
Hypocrisy on water diversion
Stop playing blame game in Gaza
Medical debt unfairly penalizes Americans
Putin doesn’t care what world thinks
Botched executions fail to dent death-penalty support
Hong Kong right to fight Beijing over vote
Diversion endangers Lake Manitoba's future
Strengthening Abbas offers best hope for peace
City dangerous by design
Western inaction bolsters Putin's web of lies
A little compassion for Forks lands
What is the cost of climate inaction?
Illicit drug market booming in China
Boko Haram prey on frustration around Lake Chad
Israeli media ‘shut ears’ on latest conflict
Brainless border bravado