Karzai Condemned for ‘Early’ Elections

After Opposition Slammed Him for Delays, Can Afghan President Catch a Break?

On January 29, the Afghan Election Commission decided to delay the nation’s presidential elections until at least August 20. This would’ve effectively kept Afghan President Hamid Karzai in office for several months after his term ends (on May 22), and was publicly condemned by Karzai opponents as unconstitutional.

Fast forward a little over a month, and President Karzai has overturned the ruling, saying he wants the elections to be held in April or May, as would be required by the constitution. Now, Karzai opponents are condemning that move, saying it doesn’t give them enough time to prepare for the campaign and might “start a crisis of legitimacy.”

The US reportedly isn’t happy either. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called Karzai just hours after he issued the decree, and NATO previously lauded the delay. So far no candidates have emerged to contest Karzai in the election, but his repeatedly clashes with international forces over the question of civilian casualties has made him a lot of enemies.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of Antiwar.com.