Iraqi Elections: Will They Happen?

via Iraqembassy.cn
via Iraqembassy.cn

A new Iraqi election law has been vetoed by Vice-President Tariq Hashimi. Mr. Hashimi vetoed the bill because he felt it did not adequately represent Iraqi expatriates and refugees, which are mostly Sunni Muslims. Mr. Hashimi would like to see more seats allocated to those who fled the country. Unfortunately, Mr. Hashimi’s veto poses a threat to the impeding national elections scheduled to be held next January.

If elections are not held, the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq could be delayed. At present, the US is slated to initiate a major withdrawal of troops in 2010.  US military commanders, though, are still confident that the withdrawal will occur on schedule.

Afghan run-off cancelled, Karzai declared winner

The New York Times is reporting that incumbent president Hamid Karzai has been declared the winner of Afghanistan’s presidential election after a scheduled run-off was canceled. The run-off that was to be held on November 7 was canceled after principle opposition leader Abdullah Abdullah withdrew. The disputed election has delayed the United States from making a final decision to deploy additional troops in Afghanistan for counterinsurgency operations or shifting its strategy to prosecute Qaeda elements in Pakistan.

Karzai Rules Out Sharing Power

Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai and his main election opponent Abdullah Abdullah have ruled out the possibility of a power sharing agreement. Karzai’s campaign insists that the only way to solve the current election crisis is to hold a second round of voting to establish a governement. Abdullah says that he and his supporters do not have faith in Karzai to end corruption and extremism.

Abdullah has expressed concern about the impartiality of the Independent Election Commission. He asserts that members of that commission are the main individuals responsible for fraud. President Karzai has claimed that he will agree to whatever is necessary to make the second round more transparent and responsive.

CFR Interview on the Afghan Election Crisis

With President Hamid Karzai’s announcement that he will participate in a runoff vote on November 7, achieving electoral legitimacy remains a compelling task.

Today at CFR.org, an interview with Peter Manikas yields insight on the roles of the IEC (Independent Election Commission) and the ECC (Election Complaints Commission). The IEC is comprised entirely of members of the Afghan government, and will carry out the runoff election. The ECC is comprised of international and Afghan officials.

As Manikas suggests in the interview, much responsibility for a successful runoff (in terms of procedural integrity) will likely rest on the IEC.