Oct. 15, 2013, 2:34 p.m.
Afghanistan: Observers are alarmed at the number of voter identification cards being sold on the streets of Afghanistan ahead of the April 5 elections. According to one vendor of voting cards, the practice is a natural consequence of poor voters willing to sell their card for the price of one meal and rich politicians willing to spend large sums of money to increase their vote count. This trend has local Afghans and members of the international community worried that the coming election will be marred by fraud, damaging the government’s legitimacy and emboldening the Taliban just as international troops withdraw from the country.
Azerbaijan: Observers from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) have criticized last week’s presidential election for its many restrictions and alleged fraud. They cite political arrests, physical attacks on journalists, voter intimidation, and unfair media coverage as just some of the host of issues affecting the credibility of the election. OSCE monitors reported ballot-box stuffing at 37 locations and “bad or very bad” vote counting procedures at more than half of polling stations. In perhaps the most egregious incident, the Central Election Commission smartphone application displayed election results favoring incumbent Ilham ALIYEV a day before the voting took place, causing some to allege that his landslide victory was pre-determined.
Morocco: After months of negotiations, the Islamist Party of Justice and Development (PJD) has managed to save its ruling coalition by including the National Rally of Independents (RNI), a party previously at odds with the PJD’s reformist agenda. It is unclear how the inclusion of the relatively pro-palace RNI will affect the Islamists’ plans to reform the economy and fight corruption. While the PJD’s willingness to work with opposing parties is an encouraging sign given the current intransigence of many Islamist parties in the region, it remains to be seen how the new coalition will be able to sort out its differences and govern effectively.
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