Mass abstention and Vote Rigging in Afghanistan

Yesterday’s presidential election in Afghanistan featured massive abstention and blatant ballot rigging, underscoring the corrupt character of the entire exercise. Conducted under the guns of 100,000 foreign troops, the vote had nothing to do with democracy and was instead designed to provide a veneer of legitimacy for the US-led NATO forces’ increasingly bloody counter-insurgency campaign against those resisting the occupation.

Preliminary results are not expected until September 3, with final results two weeks later. If incumbent president Hamid Karzai or another candidate fails to win more than 50 percent of the reported vote, there will be a runoff ballot in October between the top two candidates, expected to be Karzai and former foreign minister Abdullah Abdullah.

Election commission official Zekria Barakzai told Agence France-Presse that national turnout might reach 50 percent—sharply down from the 70 percent turnout reported in 2004. This year’s real participation rate was probably considerably lower than Barakzai’s estimate, although the true figure will likely never be determined due to electoral fraud.

Turnout was zero or near zero in parts of Afghanistan’s Pashtun-majority south, areas that have seen the worst of the US-NATO onslaught in recent months. The Taliban and other militant groups fighting the occupiers now effectively control large swathes of the country, and were able to enforce their call for a boycott of the pres… >>>

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