Just one day after Afghanistan’s Election Commission overturned President Hamid Karzai’s decision to hold the presidential election, as the constitution requires, before his term ends on May 22, rival candidates said they felt Karzai should resign at the end of his term and turn the nation over to an interim government.
A Karzai spokesman rejected the call, saying the constitution made no provisions for having an interim government take control of the nation in the event of a delayed election.
When the commission initially announced the delay, it was expected that Karzai would remain in office in spite of the end of his term, which drew angry complaints from his opponents about the delay’s constitutionality. Yet when Karzai attempted last week to overturn the delay, many of those same opponents lashed out at the “early” elections until the commission re-delayed it.
Keeping Karzai in office would give him an enormous advantage in seeking reelection, given the government’s penchant for influence peddling. So far it is not clear which, if any, of his myriad of challengers have any serious possibility of defeating him in an election or indeed given the rising violence in the nation whether the commission will allow the election to be held at all.