Abdullah Abdullah, Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s rival in the November runoff election, has promised to issue a series of demands for changes in the conduct of the next vote to prevent the widespread fraud seen in the first round.
President Karzai likewise said he hoped for a “better and cleaner” vote in the second round, though he was reluctant to hold the vote at all, claiming that the million plus fraudulent votes for his re-election were a myth created by the international press to discredit him.
The boundless enthusiasm of US envoy Richard Holbrooke, who had repeatedly touted the first round as a great success, extends to the next round of voting as well, and he says he is confident Gen. McChrystal will ensure that this vote is a success.
The only ones not convinced are also the only ones who really matter: the Afghan voters. After millions of fraudulent votes and widespread intimidation and violence in the first round, few see the need to risk getting their fingers cut off, or worse, casting votes which in all likelihood will be negated by the widespread corruption of the NATO-installed government. Voter turnout, which was disappointing in the first round, will likely be even worse this time around, as cynicism and bad weather conspire to keep Afghans home on election day.
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