The parliamentary elections in Afghanistan have been postponed from May to September in a move to avoid a repetition of the massive electoral fraud that marred last year’s polls. “Western powers want Hamid Karzai, the president, to commit to electoral reforms as part of a raft of pledges he will make at conference in London this week in return for renewed international support in the face of a spreading Taliban insurgency. Afghanistan’s allies hope the decision by the country’s Independent Election Commission to delay the polls until September 22 will buy time to prevent a re-run of the huge vote-fixing that defined the August presidential elections. Fazel Ahmed Manawi, a commissioner at the IEC, told reporters in Kabul on Sunday that the polls had been put back from May 22. He cited funding, logistical and security concerns and said the delay would provide a chance for reform. The spectacle of ballot boxes stuffed with reams of fabricated slips in favour of Mr Karzai during the August vote triggered a prolonged political crisis and sapped confidence in the Nato-led Afghan mission among troop-contributing nations.”
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