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PRESIDENTIAL RUN OFF IN AFGHANISTAN August 14, 2009

Posted by wmmbb in CENTRAL ASIA.
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The Afghan electoral system mirrors Paris and Managua, and it now looks that Karzai will have to contest a run off if the polls are to believed.

There are forty candidates for the first poll. All the effort expended to get sufficient people out to the vote, will have in that scenario to be repeated. It may turn out that Karzai receives less than 50% of less than 50% of the potential voters. Some in Afghanistan are suggesting, as Charlotte McDonald-Gibson for AFP reports (via Juan Cole) that a close result, divided along ethnic lines, will be a cause for violence.

Afghanistan has suffered repeated invasion and civil war in recent history. The current situation is a result of internal conflicts, for example between modernization and its opponents, ethnic and tribal identity and external interference and interests, not least the role the Americans and Pakistanis have played as arms suppliers.

Given the situation, it is doubtful whether a presidential election along the current lines makes any sense at all. Alternatives have been negated by the complicity and duplicity of long term American policy.

The withdrawal of American forces, and their sycophants, might create the space for a process of national reconciliation. Failing that, perhaps the establishment along similar lines to the development in Europe of Pastunistan might be answer. In this case, there would be a attempt to eliminate the impact of imperialism, a curse that besets the countries of Asia and Africa.

At the very least, hold one election and that could be done by the introduction of preferential voting.

ELSEWHERE:

While not addressing the presidential election, William Pfaff believes there is a solution in Afghanistan. Now that is the power of positive thinking for you. The imperialist claim is, at it has always been, you need us to work out your problems.

Jean MacKenzie, at Foreign Policy, reviews the prospects of the leading candidates and speculation as to who is getting the support of Obama Administration.

Here are the views from the former head of Pakistan’s ISI on the situation in Afghanistan published in Foreign Policy Journal, via Antiwar.com.

Jason Burke at The Guardian reviews the prospects of the three major candidates and their coalitions of tribal leaders, and a raises the question of legitimacy as what happens after the election.  It seems to me that the electoral process only serves to illustrate a fallacy that elections equals democracy. What would be more relevant for the people of Afghanistan?

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