Afghan President Hamid Karzai issued a decree Wednesday saying that the country’s courts cannot alter fraudulent election results, prompting criticism that he dictates policy instead building upon the rule of law.
The Afghan parliament has faced impasse after a special court in June called for the removal of 62 sitting lawmakers, saying they won their seats through fraud. Afghanistan’s September 2010 ballot was plagued by fraud and voter intimidation. Monitors discarded 1.3 million ballots — nearly a quarter of the total — and disqualified 19 winning candidates for cheating.
But Karzai decreed the Independent Election Commission, which organized the crooked fraud-plagued vote, has final say. Many international observers have criticized Karzai for trying to keep the illegitimate results in place in order to pack the legislature with his supporters.
This is merely the latest in the Afghan government’s litany of corrupt practices. Recent investigations have shown that Afghans now pay double the bribes of two years ago and Hamid Karzai has gone out of his way to curb anti-corruption initiatives. The widespread corruption and apparent illegitimacy of the government is an embarrassment for Washington, where expectations of good governance underlie the planned withdrawal.