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Monday, October 19, 2009

Chaos in the Afghan Election

The UN backed panel just confirmed what most observers already suspected, there's lots of fraud in the Afghan election and there should be a run off.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai is refusing to accept a ruling that thousands of ballots counted in the country's disputed Aug. 20 presidential election were fraudulent, Karzai's spokesman announced Monday. The ruling by the U.N.-backed panel is expected to force a runoff.

Investigators said enough votes for President Hamid Karzai were thrown out that his totals dropped below the 50 percent threshold needed to avoid a runoff with top
challenger Abdullah Abdullah.

The problem is that the UN backed group, by Afghan law, has the final say. Meanwhile, the only official Afghan election watch dog group was set up by Karzai himself and everyone expects them to rubberstamp the election within days and hand it to Karzai. So, this will set up a stand off between Karzai and his followers and the UN, which of course are outsiders. So, who the Afghan people will side with is not entirely clear?

Meanwhile, Karzai's supporters are demonstrating in parts of the country demanding that the election results get rubber stamped immediately so that Karzai is given another term. So, we have a mess developing and there are no easy solutions.

Meanwhile, the Obama administration is now saying that troop decisions won't be made until this is resolved. This is likely to take a while to resolve itself. Corruption, rampant corruption that is, goes hand in hand with third world countries. There are few countries in the world more corrupt than Afghanistan. So, corruption is a way of life. It's why it's so difficult to move from being a third world nation. Business, governance, and life are simply impossible when there is corruption everywhere. That's what we have with the Afghan elections. There are no easy answers here but the chaos that is reigning is only getting worse.

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