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Hamid Karzai takes control of Afghanistan election watchdog

While parliament is in recess, president unilaterally decrees he can appoint entire panel, reigniting fears of fraud

Jon Boone
London Guardian [1]
Monday, February 22, 2010

The Afghan president, Hamid Karzai, has unilaterally taken control of the country’s top electoral watchdog, provoking outrage from western diplomats, the Guardian has learnt.

The Electoral Complaints Commission (ECC), which forced Karzai into a runoff election after it disqualified nearly 1m fraudulent votes in last year’s presidential election, previously included three foreign experts named by the UN.

However, according to a new presidential decree published today, Karzai will have the exclusive power to appoint all five panel members.



His decision to “Afghanise” the ECC came while parliament was in recess.

It provoked a shocked reaction from western diplomats, who fear parliamentary elections – due to take place in six months – will be fatally undermined by a repeat of last year’s electoral fraud.

Such an outcome would not only destroy the credibility of parliament, it would also be a further distraction to international efforts to push back the Taliban and build popular confidence in the Afghan government.

Full story here. [1]