From the L.A. Times today:
U.S. Hand Seen in Afghan Election
Mohammed Mohaqiq says he was getting ready to make his run for the Afghan presidency when U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad dropped by his campaign office and proposed a deal.
"He told me to drop out of the elections, but not in a way to put pressure," Mohaqiq said. "It was like a request."
After the hourlong meeting last month, the ethnic Hazara warlord said in an interview Tuesday, he wasn't satisfied with the rewards offered for quitting, which he did not detail. Mohaqiq was still determined to run for president — though, he said, the U.S. ambassador wouldn't give up trying to elbow him out of the race.
"He left, and then called my most loyal men, and the most educated people in my party or campaign, to the presidential palace and told them to make me — or request me — to resign the nomination. And he told my men to ask me what I need in return."
Mohaqiq, who is running in the Oct. 9 election, is one of several candidates who maintain that the U.S. ambassador and his aides are pushing behind the scenes to ensure a convincing victory by the pro-American incumbent, President Hamid Karzai....
Sound familiar? This is from The Hill back in January '03:
White House seeks to steer Senate races
White House officials have put pressure on at least two House Republicans to put their Senate ambitions on hold and leave the way clear for the administration's favored candidates, Republican sources say.
To engineer victories in South Dakota and Washington, Reps. William Janklow (R-S.D.) and George Nethercutt (R-Wash.) have been asked to let former Rep. John Thune (R-S.D.) and Rep. Jennifer Dunn (R-Wash.) weigh their options first.
The White House operatives have also played up preferred candidates in the Carolinas, North Dakota and Nevada. Some Republicans are holding back for fear of taking on the White House.
The White House apparently seeks a repeat performance of the 2002 midterm elections, when President Bush's political guru, Karl Rove, persuaded several Senate hopefuls not to run....
Yeah, it sounds a bit familiar.
Now, in Iraq the election rules are somewhat complicated, as today's New York Times reports:
Under the electoral system, drawn up by the United Nations, voters will select not individual candidates but lists, whose members will take a number of seats in the National Assembly roughly proportional to the shares of the votes their parties receive.
Nevertheless, there are signs of election scheming, at least according to the Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani -- and, curiously, the scheming involves U.S.-affiliated parties:
Ayatollah Sistani is concerned that the nascent democratic process here is falling under the control of a handful of the largest political parties, which cooperated with the American occupation and are comprised largely of exiles.
In particular, these sources say, Ayatollah Sistani is worried about discussions now under way among those parties to form a single ticket for the elections, thus limiting the choices of voters and smothering smaller political parties.
The Bushies couldn't successfully run a two-car parade, but they know how to game an election.