Afghan vote unlikely in September

July 8, 2004 at 4:06 AM
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KABUL, Afghanistan, July 8 (UPI) -- National elections for the first Afghan parliament in decades may be pushed back again because of security concerns, Radio Free Europe said Wednesday.

Following talks between Afghanistan's U.N.-sponsored electoral commission and President Hamid Karzai's transitional administration, RFE quoted government spokesman Jawed Ludin as saying that a presidential election is still possible in late September or in October but not the more difficult ballot for a 249-seat parliament

Concerns about logistics, unruly warlords and on-going Taliban violence are likely to push back the vote until next year, Ludin said.

"The decision about when to conduct the elections is the work of the election commission. A team from the commission attended the meeting of the Afghan cabinet [on Tuesday] and they discussed this issue. They will present a report to the cabinet. After a discussion [with the cabinet on Wednesday] they will decide on the date of elections," Ludin said.

The presidential vote originally was expected in June but was postponed until September to give more time to register voters and disarm militia fighters.

Based on the commission's report, Afghan officials are now talking about a presidential vote during the Afghan month of "Mizan," which is September 22 through October 21 under the solar calendar.

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