Afghans to Elect Karzai successor in 2014 presidential poll
Afghanistan will hold its next presidential election in April 2014, officials said yesterday, with voters going to the polls months ahead of the deadline for the withdrawal of NATO combat forces from the country.
The vote to choose a successor to President Hamid Karzai will be held April 5, 2014, Fazal Ahmad Manawi, chairman of the Independent Election Commission, said in a press conference yesterday in Kabul. Results will be announced May 14, he told reporters in the Afghan capital.
Karzai, who earlier this year signaled that the election could be held in 2013 to avoid a clash with the troop pullout, is constitutionally barred from standing for a third term in office. An ethnic Pashtun, he took power after the international coalition swept the Taliban from power following al-Qaida’s Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the U.S.
He was declared the victor of a disputed 2009 election after his main opponent withdrew from a runoff, alleging fraud. A United Nations commission found that more than 1 million improper votes had been cast in the first round.
Factionalism and corruption continue to plague Afghanistan as most overseas soldiers prepare to exit an 11-year war with the Taliban, the Brussels-based International Crisis Group said in an Oct. 8 report. The withdrawal makes the challenge of organizing a “credible presidential election” and transfer of power “all the more daunting,” the group said.
“A repeat of previous elections’ chaos and chicanery would trigger a constitutional crisis,” thereby “lessening chances the present political dispensation can survive the transition,” according to the report. “In the current environment, prospects for clean elections and a smooth transition are slim.”
Karzai’s efforts to build an economy capable of financing the development needed to unite a country fractured by decades of ethnic rivalries and warfare have been hindered by the continued insurgency.