The massive fraud in Afghanistan’s August Presidential election is almost palpable, as officials with the Election Complaints Commission (ECC) are suggesting that roughly a third of all the votes cast had to be thrown out as fraudulent.
Incumbent President Hamid Karzai’s lead has dwindled since the initial count, falling enough to necessitate a second round of voting with chief rival Abdullah Abdullah. But Karzai has been condemning the mounting evidence of fraud as a Western plot against him, and it remains to be seen if he will even allow the vote to occur.
A diplomatic blitz has been on as NATO nations struggle to get Karzai to accept the ruling and salvage at least some modicum of credibility for what many are seeing as a rubber-stamping of his second term, and it is only now, nearly a week after the results of the ECC probe started to leak out, that Karzai has even indicated that he might be open to a runoff.
Publicly, at least, the State Department has dismissed concerns about the election and won’t even hazard a guess as to what, if anything, would be done if Karzai just rejects the runoff. Spokesman PJ Crowley, incredibly enough, praised the election as one of the best run and most carefully scrutinized the world has seen.
Which seems an amazing claim, given the Karzai campaign was able to run 800 completely fictitious polling places on election day and even after two months of investigations have caught his campaign red-handed rigging the election en masse it seems he needs only to delay his “decision” to accept being caught a few short weeks, until the first snowfall, to ensure that he will remain in power until at least next spring.
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