WASHINGTON: The US reiterated that it preferred an August date for presidential elections in Afghanistan, despite President Hamid Karzai’s called for polls on 21 April. The US state department said that the elections in August would best ensure a free vote in a secure environment.
Karzai called for polls on yesterday before his term ends in May. The Afghan Independent Elections Commission said that elections should be held by 20 August. The president has no power to unilaterally choose election dates. But his term of office ended on 21 May, potentially creating a constitutional crisis if polls were held much later.
According to Article 61 of Afghanistan’s constitution, elections should be held 30 to 60 days before 22 May, the end of Karzai’s five-year term. International monitors said it would be difficult to hold a fair election by April because of security concerns, bad weather and the logistical challenges of getting ballots.-SANA