Runoff Election Due In Afghanistan

Oct. 15, 2009, midnight

Afghan President Hamid KARZAI faces a runoff election after a recount completed last weekend erased his first-round majority of votes. KARZAI emerged from the August 20 Presidential election with more than 54 percent support. He now has 47 points. While the Afghan constitution mandates a runoff within two weeks of the first round's certification, some analysts believe this is not enough time to organize the next round. Others nonetheless argue the Independent Election Commission needs to move quickly, lest harsh winter conditions impede conduct of the election. According to one official, ballots listing KARZAI and first-round runner-up Abdullah ABDULLAH are en route to Kabul from London. Other supplies, including indelible ink used to stain voters' fingers so that they may be stopped from voting more than once, are already in-country. Extensive fraud marred the August 20 round of voting. Arguing it would damage the legitimacy of the Electoral Complaints Commission, the United Nations-backed recount body, KARZAI nonetheless refused the resignation this week of an Afghan member who charged the donor community was too controlling.

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