Wednesday, August 19, 2009

August 19th, 2009

Not much of a calm before the storm today with an incident in Kabul and several reported around the country. President Karzai has called for a news blackout tomorrow on security incidents, lest it deter potential voters. But, of course, that is a difficult thing to do in a democratic country.

Security will certainly be the major concern tomorrow. A friend who was up in Kunduz with the German PRT said that they were under attack from 360 degrees there. If that is the security situation in the northern part of the country, one can just imagine the situation in the south.

Security will not only be an issue tomorrow. The days following the election will most certainly see different factions trying to assert their power.

One thing that is going to be a real issue is that the IEC external affairs announced that the earliest official preliminary results will be released on August 25th (the news put out earlier was that they would have prelim results announced on Saturday, August 22). This will of course be a problem, because presidential candidate Abdullah and others will have their poll agents recording the numbers from the talley that they are required to post by the next day at each polling station and start announcing their own results. If the official results are significantly different, there could be real issues arising in terms of security and legitimacy.

Another issue is that 12 candidates have withdrawn (but only 7 did it on time & with correct paperwork). Ballots are of course already printed (though as of this morning 20% of the polling stations had not yet received their materials). IEC has no plan to post a note or inform voters of which candidates have withdrawn. Votes cast for withdrawn candidates will be taken out of the numerator and denominator -- making it easier for Karzai to get 50% + 1.

It is night in Kabul now and all seems quiet. City lights twinkling away. Let's hope tomorrow is calm like this too.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Rani,

    I'm jealous of the exciting work you are doing in Afghanistan. I hope the day goes by smoothly without incidents and hope for your safe exit from Afghanistan soon after a successful conduction of elections.