Monday, September 21, 2009

Presidential election run-off: October or 2010?

Conflicting reports have come from Reuters as to whether Afghanistan will be able to hold a run-off election before 2010.

Yesterday reporter Golnar Motevalli published the following:

Daoud Ali Najafi, Chief Electoral Officer of Afghanistan, urged a U.N.-backed watchdog to speed up a fraud investigation in order to avoid having to delay a potential second-round poll until after winter snow has melted in mainly-rural Afghanistan.

"Based on the climate situation in Afghanistan, if we could not have a run-off in the third week of October, then it's not possible for us to have a run-off this year," he told Reuters.

Najafi strongly prefers having the run-off in October, but notes that the U.N-backed Electoral Complaints Commission must first certify election results, having recently declared 10% of polling locations worthy of review for fraud. The ECC has not taken a stance on whether they will certify the election results based on samplings.

Today, however, Peter Graff reported that U.N. spokesman Aleem Siddique was confident that a full recount could be conducted in two weeks, to meet the deadline for scheduling an October run-off. Given how long recounts take over here, I was surprised at the optimism, but read later that Siddique is open to sampling. For further facts about the election itself, see this post from last week.

UPDATE: As of 11:30pm, September 21, the LA Times is reporting that a sampling method will be used. There is apparently tension among U.N officials over how methodology, but most people seem to agree that rigor has to be sacrificed in order to get this run-off going before snow "renders much of the country inaccessible." forget the election, how will snow affect Obama's "civilian surge" for the next few months? Questions for another day, I suppose. Also of note- the same article notes the expectation that once votes are thrown out for fraud Karzai will not reach 50%, contradicting CIA Director Panetta's comments from earlier this week.

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