Afghan Biographies

Presidential Election April 2014: costly, messy and useless

Subject Presidential Election April 2014: costly, messy and useless


Governments that worry about how their publics may respond, would do well to plan for a costly, messy and useless election in April 2014, and communicate accordingly, rather than simply hope for the best.

On Sunday (20131006), with the final list of presidential candidates set, Afghans and Western officials added another item to the growing list of concerns about the vote: the candidates themselves. There is the professorial technocrat and the urbane diplomat, neither of whom has any natural constituency in Afghanistan. There is a man accused of being a pedophile who was once a darling of the CIA, and another accused of war crimes who once tried to enact a law granting amnesty to people accused of war crimes. And then there is the candidate who would not even get the vote of his own brother, and his brother is President Hamid Karzai, the man they are all vying to replace.


The effective loss of control over the election process in every election so far and that, to this day, remain unresolved: the absence of an adequate voter registry; the mass availability of voter cards not linked to actual voters, many of which were gathered with the express intent of perpetuating fraud (the conservative estimate is five million too many and – with the current top-up exercise – counting); the lack of clarity on which polling centres have actually opened; the widespread insecurity; and the collusion of electoral and security staff, whether prompted by loyalty, money or pressure, at all levels.


Released 2013-10-08