Thursday, 1 April 2010

The increasingly unstable Hamid Karzai

BBC News is reporting that Hamid Karzai, President of Afghanistan, is blaming UN diplomats for the poll fraud which mired his re-election last year.

At the time, international observers, including the UN, reported widespread fraud. As a result, President Karzai's claimed first round win was quashed and he had to face a run-off vote against his nearest challenger. In the event, that challenger withdrew citing the likelihood of further fraud which, he said, would make it impossible for a fair poll to be held.

President Karzai is using these claims to justify a move to take control of the election apparatus in the future. Of course, he who controls the electoral commission controls the result - which is why it needs to remain completely independent. Otherwise we will quickly see 'President for Life Karzai'.

The UK and US had a wobble in their support for Karzai at the time of the last election. But they accepted the de facto victory and continue to work with him as well, of course, as pouring billions of pounds and thousands of troops into the country.

This is a tricky call for the West. Can they persuade Karzai to back down on these ridiculous claims and to accept genuine democracy and the rule of law? Or will they allow him to get away with this power grabbing move?

No comments: