(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
October 10, 2010
Flawed Afghan Elections
claims by Afghan
and US officials of having conducted a comparatively fair and free
this time, there are widespread allegations of fraud.
in the fray is Abdul Rab Rasoul Sayyaf. In the early nineties, Sayyaf,
the American backed mujahedin fighting against a secular government in
their proxies in the fray and the Taliban calling for a boycott, it was
surprise that vote rigging, intimidation and violence were widespread.
been reported that out of 2500 candidates contesting for 249 seats, the
majority have been tainted by accusations of corruption and
the 2005 parliamentary polls, according to the independent Afghanistan
Rights Commission, more than 80 per cent of the legislators from the
and 60 per cent of those elected form
was not been taken seriously by president Karzai. After the parliament
no confidence motions against some of his ministers, Karzai used his
powers to allow them to stay on. An election decree issued by Karzai
rejected by parliament went on to become law. Power though concentrated
in the presidency
does give legislators a platform to air divergent views. Many
for instance, had called for strong action by the government, after
raided a house in Nangrahar, killing the close relatives of the female
of parliament, Safia Saddiqi. Parliamentarians had said that the
highlighted president Karzai’s inability to protect Afghans from the
forces. However, a friendly Loya Jirga will help president Karzai to
the constitution so that term limits on the presidency can be removed.
constitution in its present form prohibits Karzai from seeking a third
pliable legislature is also needed to rubber stamp the
had issued 17.5 million voter registration cards. Most observers were
view that this was a very high number as the number of registered
voters is not
known to exceed 12.5 million. Besides this, election observers reported
millions more of fake registration cards came from
report from the Canadian government stated that the security situation
UN special representative in
In the run-up
elections, four candidates and twenty of their supporters were killed.
turnout for the vote was uneven. In many provinces, the polling booths
empty. The Election Commission had to remove more than 400 voting
the government was unable to provide security. The Taliban had issued a
urging Afghans to boycott the elections and instead focus “on driving
invaders” from the country. Voters turned out in
indicated that the levels of violence were higher than that witnessed
year’s flawed presidential polls. A private security firm based in
That goal, going from the evidence of the parliamentary poll, seems to be a distant one. The Afghan government itself says that only 3.6 million people cast their votes constituting only 31 per cent of the 11.3 million registered voters. The Independent Election Commission’s claim of more than 17 million registered voters is generally treated with scepticism. In the presidential elections, more than 7 million votes were cast, though there is widespread acknowledgement that a significant number of the votes resulted from ballot rigging. The Afghan defence minster, Abdul Rahim Wardak, blamed the Taliban propaganda for the low turnout, saying that it had “affected the psyche of the people”.
The Free and Fair Election Foundation of Afghanistan, in a statement said that it “had serious concerns about the quality of the elections”. The organisation had sent out 7000 observers to monitor the elections. “Violence by candidates, their agents and local power brokers were reported in several areas and so were a worrying number of instances of government officials interfering in the voting centres to sway the results in favour of their chosen candidates. Ballot stuffing was seen in varying extents in most provinces, as were proxy voting and underage voting”, the statement from the Foundation said. The New York Times reported that in Kunduz city, journalists and election observers witnessed election officials and party workers stuffing votes behind locked doors. Preliminary election results are expected in early October but if the previous elections were any indicators, a deluge of complaints by the defeated candidates to the Election Commission is bound to further delay the announcements of final results.