Afghan Biographies

Will Karzai hand power to his successor on 2 August 2014?

Subject Will Karzai hand power to his successor on 2 August 2014?

Allegations of "state engineered industrial level fraud" suggest that entire provinces, particularly in the east, have been inflated in favor of Ghani. The election returns in Paktia, Paktika, Khost, and Kunar provinces are so inflated that they reflect twice the registered voters in these provinces. In many regards, the situation is near identical to the 2009 elections, in which 1.2 million ballots were discarded as fraudulent -- most of them in favor of Karzai. At that time, Abdullah's reaction was quite passive; this time, however, he is being more assertive.

Karzai, for his part, is not budging an inch. He did not yield to any of Abdullah's demands for election reform in 2009 and does not appear willing to consider any adjustments to the IEC/ECC in 2014. Perhaps, he was counting on Abdullah to react in a similar fashion and, if the election results favored Ghani, bow out of the elections quietly. Thus far, this seems highly unlikely.

Or maybe, he is counting on Abdullah's team to challenge the results in an unconstitutional way, giving Karzai room to disqualify him as a candidate and either award the elections to Ghani or deem them invalid and continue to rule for some time. Although hypothetical, these possibilities are the talk of Kabul these days and many are concerned that Afghanistan is heading to a constitutional showdown.

Released 2014-06-19