Questions about whether Afghan President Hamid Karzai will intervene in the growing election fiasco are rising again today after the Electoral Complaints Commission (ECC) announced today that they are stripping 21 candidates of their victories over voting irregularities. This is nearly one in 10 of the members of parliament.
Afghanistan’s 2009 presidential vote was by all accounts a disaster, but the 2010 parliamentary vote appears to have been far worse, with around one in five polling places never opening, and around a quarter of the ballots cast being thrown out as fraudulent.
This has sparked a number of protests about the ECC’s ability to pick and choose winners in the absence of anything even close to resembling reliable data about the will of voters. Today’s disqualifications are likely to add more questions, as the number of crooked candidates, both winners and losers, far exceeds these 21.
Some also expressed concern that the banned 21 are by and large Pashtuns. Between this and the number of Pashtun polling sites that never opened, it seems the group, the largest ethnicity in Afghanistan, will be holding a disproportionately small number of seats in the parliament.