Afghan elections will be delayed past September
Associated Press Writer
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) – Historic Afghan elections scheduled for September will be delayed because of wrangling among officials and political parties, a senior government official told The Associated Press on Thursday.
Farooq Wardak, a senior member of the country’s election management body, said the group would not be able to reach a decision by Friday, the deadline for setting a vote in September.
Under Afghan law, polling day must be set at least 90 days in advance. That makes Friday the last chance to announce a Sept. 30 election.
“Much more consultation is required,” Wardak said as he hurried to a meeting with the top U.N. official in Afghanistan, Jean Arnault. “I’m hopeful that next week we’ll have a decision.”
President Hamid Karzai has pledged repeatedly to hold the elections in September, despite mounting violence against election workers and concerns that warlords will use intimidation to cement their power.
Presidential and parliamentary elections were already delayed from June, partly because of a lack of security.
October is seen as the last chance to hold a vote before snow closes high passes in the remote Hindu Kush mountains until spring 2005.
Wardak said only four of the 20 political parties consulted by the election body want the vote to be held this fall. Karzai has argued that delaying the vote would betray Afghan hopes nearly three years after the U.S.-led ouster of the hardline Taliban regime.