The Great Debate UK
from Afghan Journal:
What is a worse prospect for an Afghanistan election – election fraud on an industrial scale or a quiet campaign of intimidation that keeps voters away from the polls, or forces them to vote for the most powerful candidate?
That seems to be the choice facing many Afghan voters ahead of the Sept. 18 parliamentary election, particularly those in the Pashtun tribal belt in the south and east where so much of the fraud that marred last year’s presidential ballot was committed.
Afghan voters can be excused for feeling ballot fatigue. The September vote will be their fourth in six years.
There have been some improvements but the key questions of poor governance, corruption and security remain unanswered despite the number of ballots they have cast. To turn out again will be a real test of their commitment to democracy, a right taken for granted by many in the West and grumbled about when they are asked to exercise it. It would hardly be surprising, given the risks, if many decided not to vote.
But the Sept. 18 poll is important nonetheless. It will be a real test of Afghanistan’s stability, of the progress being made in governance and in the fight against rampant corruption of which so many in government at all levels have been accused.
These are the things that will also be factored into U.S. President Barack Obama’s promised Afghan strategy review in December.