In a move that will further cement his long-term hold on power, Afghan President Hamid Karzai issued a decree earlier this month giving him unilateral control over appointing the entire Electoral Complaints Commission, eliminating all UN oversight over future elections.
Karzai’s move was condemned by political opponents, who fear that he will use it to ensure that his supporters gain power in this summer’s parliamentary election. Karzai has clashed with the existing parliamentarians over cabinet postings.
Karzai is no stranger to election fraud, having won reelection last year with over a million fraudulent votes cast on his behalf. The Electoral Complaints Commission attempted to order a second round of voting after the fraud was uncovered, but this was cancelled after Karzai refused to make any changes to the process.
Karzai defended the decree, saying that only Afghans appointed by him were qualified to make decisions in the national interest, and that foreigners had to be removed from the process.
Which might be a dangerous move if Western nations object, as the Afghan government has already had to delay this election for several months due to lack of funding, and the UN will likely refuse to fund the tentative May vote if there is no international oversight.