Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s decision earlier this month to overturn the ruling of the Election Commission to delay the election to August 20 has itself been overturned, and the commission has once again set the date for August 20.
Holding the election in August would require President Karzai to remain in office for several months past the end of his term, which outraged the opposition and raised questions about the constitutionality of the delay. Karzai’s decision to set the election in April or May, as the constitution would require, also outraged the opposition and led to accusations that the “early” elections would damage their legitimacy.
The US State Department cheered the re-delay of the election, saying it would “assure that every Afghan citizen is able to freely and fairly express his or her political preference in a secure environment.” The reasoning of the delay was that the escalating violence did not allow for safe elections: yet with violence expected to soar in the coming year, whether August will be any better remains to be seen, and future delays are entirely possible.
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