Thursday, March 17, 2005

Afghan president says parliamentary elections delayed until September

Afghan President Hamid Karzai said Thursday that parliamentary elections originally scheduled for May will instead be held in September, a much-anticipated delay as Afghan and international organizers struggle with logistics for the vote.

Karzai cited "technical problems" including the lack of an accurate census as reasons why the vote would be delayed....

Some of Karzai's critics have said that delaying the parliamentary vote beyond the May 20 deadline would leave him in the position of an elected dictator, though most opposition groups have taken the likely delay in stride.

Observers in Kabul and elsewhere have long said the vote would be delayed because of the daunting task of organizing the election, which is supposed to include ballots for district and provincial assemblies.


So, er, if it's impossible to hold credible parliamentary elections in May, what are we supposed to think about the election last fall in which Hamid Karzai was elected president?

And if we're going to hail every baby step toward democracy in the Middle East as the equivalent of the fall of a chunk of the Berlin Wall, what should we say about a noteworthy step backwards?

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