UN Demands Reforms as Afghan Parliamentary Election Looms

Potential Delay Could Worsen Political Crisis

Citing the disastrous August presidential election in the nation, UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon warned today that the United Nations would not endorse Afghanistan’s next election, tentatively scheduled for May 22, without significant reforms to the voting process.

The August election saw the reelection of President Hamid Karzai, but only after millons of fraudulent votes cast on his behalf forced the nation to schedule a second round of voting, which was unceremoniously cancelled after Karzai refused to make any major procedural changes.

Afghan officials say they intend to hold the parliamentary vote as scheduled, but the UN’s refusal to back the vote could hinder their ability to fundraise from Western nations, and ultimately make such a vote impossible.

If that happens, warned Karzai spokesman Wahid Omar, Afghanistan could face yet another political crisis. But the notion that the Afghan government can shell out the $50+ million to pay for the vote itself seems unlikely, as it has virtually no revenue coming in.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of Antiwar.com.