Afghanistan Postpones May Elections

Panel pushes vote to Sept., cites need for reform, lack of funds
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jan 24, 2010 7:05 AM CST
Afghanistan Postpones May Elections
In this Aug. 20, 2009 file photo, election official Mohammad Hasan Haidari, left, prepares ballots in the village of Dahaneh, the only polling place in the district of Now Zad in Helmand Province.   (Julie Jacobson)

Afghanistan's independent election commission has confirmed it is postponing parliamentary elections until the fall due to a lack of funding, security concerns, and logistical challenges. Commissioner Fazel Ahmed Manawi also told reporters today the delay will allow time for electoral reforms—a move likely to please Western countries pressing for changes after a fraud-marred presidential poll.

Manawi says the vote, which had been scheduled for May 22, will be held on Sept. 18 instead. US lawmakers and other critics had pressed for a delay in the wake of last August's disputed presidential election, warning that holding the vote without substantive electoral reform could undermine support for US aid to Afghanistan. Manawi said the Independent Election Commission made the decision because it lacks the $120 million needed to pay for the vote. (Read more Afghanistan election stories.)

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