Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Voting in Afghanistan: Low bar

September 20, 2010

It did not take long for the international community to give Saturday’s parliamentary election a big thumbs-up. A coordinated torrent of praise from the main foreign missions in Afghanistan began to gush a few hours after polls closed.

The EU said the vote underlined “the will of the Afghan people to shape the future of their country”. For General David Petraeus the election proved that the “voice of Afghanistan's future does not belong to the violent extremists and terror networks.” The UN commended Afghans for “their courage and determination in exercising their democratic right to vote.” All of this over an election with manifest shortcomings. The only observation mission of serious size, the Free and Fair Elections Foundation of Afghanistan (FEFA), said in an initial assessment it had “serious concerns about the quality of the elections”.