Kabul’s own dimpled chads

Post-election turmoil in Afghanistan

Elections by themselves do not make democracies. Institutions and processes do. The grand loya jirga — a congregation of tribal elders and the closest thing the Afghan’s had to a constituent assembly — was told that presidential and parliamentary elections would be held in tandem. Yet due to a combination of apathy, impatience and the exigencies of the US presidential elections, this commitment was violated when against UN advice, the presidential election was scheduled very much ahead of the parliamentary one. As Rajan points out, this was not a very good idea at all.

What these polls have demonstrated (especially to the West) is that given half-a-chance, ordinary folk will brave bombs and bullets to exercise their vote. There is nothing surprising about burka-clad women queueing up outside polling stations, where they are allowed to do so.

The elections were a success, despite the claims of irregularities by the opposition warlords, sore-losers that they have proven to be. But it is too much to expect them to stand down Al Gore-style because the decision to hold the elections prematurely was the first stone cast against Afghan reconciliation. If the chief patron of the elections could turn on promises made to the loya jirga, the warlords can hardly be expected to be held to higher standards.

Hamid Karzai is likely to become the first democratically elected president of Afghanistan; but will be hamstrung by a huge discount of legitimacy. And if, as expected, he were to postpone the parliamentary elections scheduled for next year, that lack of complete legitimacy will be a millstone around his neck.

Correction: An earlier version of this post incorrectly read an Asia Pages readers’ opinion to be that of the Afghan people. Thanks to Rajan for pointing this out.

6 thoughts on “Kabul’s own dimpled chads”

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  2. The a majority of the Afghan people themselves felt that it was too early to hold elections

    The link says: “If The Asia Pages readers were Afghan…
    The country would have delayed its elections as 63% felt the country was not ready leaving 38% believing it was. May Afghanistan prove us skeptics wrong in our thinking…”

  3. WHen the koran becomes the constitution and sharia the legal process, things soon become intolerable for a vast majority of the inhabitants of any such blighted land. Within a genration or 2, this overdose of islam leads to intense disillusionment, pent up and suppressed yearning for simple liberties, schizophernia and illogicity – all conditions ripe for a counter-revolution. Often a push from outside maybe all that is needed. Such is the case of Afghanistan and I believe Iran too is ripe for counter-revolution.
    Going by this logic I suppose so should Saudi and Yemen be ready for the same. (Any takers?) Syria, Egypt etc are not islamic in the sesne that the koran ain’t yet the constitution there. I just wish teh whole world have a taste of sharia for a week and this whole bluster about a supposed koranic paradise will be exposed for the sham it is.

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