According to one of his top aides, Afghan President Hamid Karzai is expecting the ongoing investigation into voter fraud to yield an announcement that a second round of voting will be required. The announcement, according to Ambassador Jawad, is expected to come on Saturday.
The revelation comes as something of a surprise, as Karzai aides had previously predicted the landslide “preliminary” results would be upheld, despite mounting evidence of massive fraud on his behalf.
Ambassador Jawad also claimed the Karzai camp has had no contact with the commission, so it is unclear how they came by this conclusion. Previous reports had indicated that the UN’s aversion to a second round of voting had led to rules designed to reduce the likelihood of such a result.
Assuming the announcement happens, the next question is whether or not the government can quickly organize another round of voting between Karzai and Abdullah Abdullah. The first snowfall is expected in November, leaving a few short weeks before wintery conditions will make voting essentially impossible through most of the country.
Jawad suggested a vote could be held by late October, but that seems remarkable considering the logistics involved. If not, the vote may have to wait until spring of next year, effectively extending Karzai’s term, which was supposed to end this summer, nearly an entire year before a conclusion is reached.