Saturday, October 09, 2004

Afghans -- Are You Ready for Democracy?

Scott Baldauf of CSM asks that question in this piece. Baldauf also describes the concern of the United Nations that there are multiple registrations and safety issues that call into question the legitimacy of today's elections before they have even taken place. According to United Nations figures cited in the article, there are only 9.8 eligible voters in the country, yet as President Bush and Vice President Cheney have observed in the debates there are over 10 million Afghans registered to vote.

BBC News reports this morning that there were some additional problems with the election. Beside general concern for safety, 15 candidates claimed to be boycotting the election because of voting irregularities. To avoid multiple voting, election officials put ink on the thumb of each voter after he had cast his vote. In some cases the ink was washable.

The BBC article reports that only two candidates beside Hamid Karzai did not participate in the boycott--but they "stood down in [Karzai's] favour on the last day of the campaign."

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