Monday, September 19, 2005

Afghan elections met with curious silence

Seems odd to me that there has been very little discussion of the Afghan parliamentary elections today. The BBC has a few articles, Afghan ballot papers on the move and this Photojournal: Afghan family's voting day The best article I've found was In crucial step toward democracy, Afghans vote for lawmakers in the Christian Science Monitor:

The fact that Mr. Urban [an election official] speaks of "credible and acceptable" elections instead of "free and fair" elections is an indication that Afghanistan still cannot guarantee that citizens are able to cast their votes in an environment free of violence, intimidation, or corruption. But the key, Urban says, is that this process, however imperfect, is a necessary step toward creating a legitimate system of government that the Afghan people will accept.
To me the presidential election was just a dress rehearsal for this election. No one knew how to run an election back then. And there was absolutely no doubt as to the result. This election is where, hopefully, new faces will take their place in a legitimate government. Via IWPR I hear that parties were barred from the election, which many think will result in a fragmented, weak parliament. But that makes sense to me. Allowing political parties or slates of candidates would guarantee victory for the entrenched "warlords" that have fought in so many conflicts in the past decades. Without parties controlling the voting there is a better chance for new voices to emerge. And if the first session of this new governing body is fracture and weak, so be it. It will take time to establish new coalitions and new parties.

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