An “election” was held in Afghanistan a few days ago and its results undoubtedly bring joy to the hearts of all dead political leaders who used to stuff ballots in Chicago or New Jersey or Pittsburgh. The Election Complaints Commission(ECC) already has received 225 complaints about voter intimidation, ballot stuffing and violence as well as interference by local police authorities. Correspondents for the British The Independent witnessed fraud at a polling station where officials claimed 1,200 showed up to vote but independent witnesses only saw a few dozen people actually vote.
Naturally, President Karzai hailed his apparent victory and dismissed complaints as due to “losing candidates often try to justify their loss this way.” Then again, “winning candidates” often try to justify their “victory” this way. Abdullah Abdullah, who was thought to constitute an electoral threat to incumbent Hamid Karzai, is convinced there was widespread manipulation of the election to ensure Karzai won.
Lost in the squabble over the fairness or accuracy of the election was the reality half the population really did not participate in any election– women! How can an election reflect a nation’s feelings if half the people were not allowed to vote?