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UN Ordered Afghanistan Recount Begins

From those champions of open and honest elections at the Associated Press:

Afghan election recount begins

By Rahim Faiez, Associated Press Writer

KABUL – Election workers began recounting ballots from the disputed Aug. 20 presidential election Monday, and a senior official said he expected to announce late next week whether President Hamid Karzai had won or would face a runoff with his main rival.

A U.N.-backed commission ordered a partial recount from about 10 percent of the country’s polling stations after allegations of widespread fraud in the vote, which was supposed to install a legitimate government to confront the growing Taliban threat.

However, vote-rigging allegations have plunged Afghanistan into an electoral crisis at a time when Taliban militants are expanding from their southern strongholds into the north and west of the country…

In Kabul, election officials said the recount began Monday morning with ballots from 274 of the country’s 3,498 polling stations. Ballots from another 84 locations were selected Monday and were expected in coming days, according to the deputy director of the election commission, Zekria Barakzai.

Barakzai said the count should take about three days to complete and that the commission would be able to announce the final results "by the end of next week."

Preliminary results released last month showed Karzai won the August balloting with 54.6 percent, enough to avoid a runoff with second place finisher Abdullah Abdullah. A recount could push down Karzai’s numbers down below the 50 percent mark and force a runoff with Abdullah, a former foreign minister.

If a runoff were required, Barakzai said it must be held within two to three weeks of the announcement of the final results. Winter snows typically start in mid-November, making much of the country impassable.

Waiting for spring to hold the poll could create a power vacuum in a country already destabilized by the resurgent Taliban and delay both government projects and military operations.

Preliminary results took weeks longer than expected, and there have already been delays in the recount process. Election officials had previously said they would recount 313 of 3,063 suspect polling stations. Barakzai said they had misapplied the criteria for designating questionable ballot boxes and the higher number reflects the true count.

Whenever fraud is found among votes in one of the 358 sample boxes, all the votes in that box will be tossed. For votes in the remaining suspect boxes, the level of fraud in the sample will be used to decide what percentage of votes to void for each candidate

The Associated Press sure has a funny way of putting things:

A U.N.-backed commission ordered a partial recount from about 10 percent of the country’s polling stations after allegations of widespread fraud in the vote, which was supposed to install a legitimate government to confront the growing Taliban threat.

Does not Afghanistan already have “a legitimate government”? And hasn’t it had one for five years?

We are no fans of Mr. Karzai, but he was the first democratically elected leader of Afghanistan in its history, being elected in October 2004. Even the UN declared that he had won 55.4% of the vote.

But suddenly the UN’s (and Associated Press’) strategy becomes more clear:

If a runoff were required, Barakzai said it must be held within two to three weeks of the announcement of the final results. Winter snows typically start in mid-November, making much of the country impassable. Waiting for spring to hold the poll could create a power vacuum in a country already destabilized by the resurgent Taliban and delay both government projects and military operations.

By the way, why didn’t the United Nations (and the AP) demand a recount in Iran?

Oh, that’s right.

Their side won.

This article was posted by Steve on Monday, October 5th, 2009. Comments are currently closed.

3 Responses to “UN Ordered Afghanistan Recount Begins”

  1. proreason says:

    We should have left after we smacked em in 2002.

    That country is hopeless. It would be a lot easier to smack em every couple of years. Other than preventing the country from becoming a safe haven for murderous fanatics, there is nothing else to do there.

    But we’ll never learn.

  2. GL0120 says:

    I suppose the National Hemorrhoid, Jimmy Earl, will supervise the voting along with ACORN?

  3. canary says:

    Well, I guess the button pushers have stopped news from being released.


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