Karzai unlikely to claim Afghan election victory soon
Amid likely vote fraud, some experts now call for a coalition government or a return to the tribal system to clear the impasse.
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Mr. Galbraith favors a larger recount of votes, even if it leads to a runoff between Karzai and his main political rival, Abdullah Abdullah, and an extended period of political uncertainty.Skip to next paragraph
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But Mr. Eide, a Norwegian who is the top UN envoy in Afghanistan, is said to favor some kind of speedy accord among the country's political rivals – perhaps resulting in a coalition government – as a way to avoid an extended period of political uncertainty.
Another idea, suggested by Mr. Abdullah, is for a transitional government, made up of nonpolitical bureaucrats, that would administer the country until a runoff could be held.
Some Afghanistan experts say any option that fails to recognize the folly the world committed in emphasizing creation of a strong central government, and that continues down that same path, is destined to fail itself.
"The idea of imposing a central government was a mistake from the beginning, and none of the options now under consideration will be able to make this government appear legitimate to a majority of the Afghan people," says Selig Harrison, director of the Asia program at the Center for International Policy in Washington.
Instead, Mr. Harrison says, Afghanistan should return to its traditional reliance on a tribal system and hold a loya jirga, or grand assembly of esteemed tribal leaders, to find a way out of the current impasse.
Citing a recent opinion piece by an Afghan lawyer and an American writer in The New York Times, Harrison says the Afghan constitution – approved by a loya jirga in 2004 – provides for holding a loya jirga "to decide on issues related to supreme national interests."
All the options are being weighed based on what each contributes to what is recognized to be the most pressing need – some government and leadership viewed both internally and by the larger world as legitimate.
That is why Mr. Weinbaum says US officials, including Obama's special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan, Richard Holbrooke, have insisted that a runoff be held to deliver a clear winner. "They're saying, 'This ain't gonna work. We can't salvage this guy [Karzai] without him winning legitimately in a second round.' "
Many Karzai votes may be fraudulent
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