January 21st, 2011
08:58 AM ET

Analysts: Inauguration delay could spark more violence

President Hamid Karzai's decision to postpone the inauguration of the Afghan parliament could spark ethnic divisions and more violence, analysts warned Friday.

Winners and losers of the September parliamentary elections have traded accusations of fraud and irregularities, and accused each other of providing incentives to the Taliban.

The election results saw a power shift in parliament - with reduced representation from the country's predominantly Pashtun south - Karzai's power base - to one that is more Tajik and Hazara heavy.

Losing candidates argue that the population in the south was unable to vote because of insecurity, intimidation and fighting with the Taliban.

Karzai's office on Wednesday announced a one-month inauguration delay, saying that the special court on election fraud needed more time to investigate complaints from losing candidates.

"Karzai's decision to postpone the inauguration signals his immense fear that this parliament as it's currently composed may take actions to remove him. And I think it also signals that he's gained very bad advise from his advisers in the palace on how to handle this crisis," said Candace Rondeaux, a senior Afghan analyst for the International Crisis Group.

"But perhaps most importantly, this decision indicates his inability to run this country anymore. He has way overstepped his bounds and if the international community doesn't say something, doesn't take a stand against this abuse of power, they should pack up and leave."

The international community has remained silent over the latest announcement by Karzai's office, although it supported the findings of the Afghan Independent Election Commission.

The commission certified the results at the end of November after throwing out more than a million ballots from around 3,000 polling stations because of suspected fraud.

Last month, Karzai appointed a special court to launch its own investigation into about 400 cases of fraud.

Daud Sultanzai, a losing candidate from the volatile Ghazni province, argues that the fraudulent actions of the election commission and other presiding bodies necessitated the formation of the special court.

He is among the leaders of a new organization formed by candidates, he says, who are seeking transparent and fair election results.

"People are already showing their dissatisfaction," he said, referring to small weekly demonstrations.

Sultanzai and other supporters of the special court argue that the election commission is fraught with irregularities. He called its actions unconstitutional and said that millions of Afghans were denied their voice by being unable to vote.

The election commission has refused to cooperate with the special court, and Afghan and international officials consider the special court illegitimate.

The potential fallout could have grave consequences.

"If Karzai uses this special court to cherry-pick among candidates that he sees as loyal to him, there will be a massive boycott not only of parliament but of the government as a whole from those candidates that are excluded," Rondeaux said.

"This country is already limping along as it is, it will be paralysis in the extreme."

On Thursday, most of the 249 elected members of parliament met in Kabul and announced they would likely go ahead with the inauguration without Karzai, though a decision would be made Saturday.

Sultanzai says such a move would be unconstitutional.

"It's the governments job to stop lawlessness, especially a lawless entry into parliament," he said.

"Parliament is a sacred place. It's a very provocative move to inaugurate parliament without the imprimatur of the executive." Rondeaux said.

"And given Karzai's behavior lately, I think he will be very tempted to use this potential event to eliminate some of his enemies. We could see arrests, we could also see a lot of violence."

The concern is that government paralysis opens a foothold for the Taliban and other groups to gain more support among the population.

Karzai's critics warn the country risks descending into chaos over failure to inaugurate parliament.

However, the inauguration could also have grave consequences and risks driving disenfranchised Pashtuns into the arms of the Taliban.

"Failure to resolve this crisis certainly will hasten the advent of civil war," Rondeaux said.

soundoff (16 Responses)
  1. Dindy

    God will give a better answer than anybody to this worst problem on earth soon.

    January 22, 2011 at 11:03 am | Report abuse |
    • markjuliansmith

      An earthquake? Which God?

      January 23, 2011 at 6:09 pm | Report abuse |
  2. The Prophet Mohammed

    How Pathetic! CNN sucks, how is this even news? EVERY day over there can spark violence, HELLO! maybe the CNN reporters should be working for NASA or the Captain Obvious task force. Window lickers.

    January 22, 2011 at 2:59 am | Report abuse |
  3. Dan in Lafayette,IN

    Whats so funny salerno? The country could go into civil war and many more will die and you laugh, what kind of person are you? If there were no violence in the first place at the polling stations and in the southern part of the country the people would have come out to vote and there would be no problem, but the insurgents do not want freedom and democracy they would rather see death and destruction and you laugh! You, the Taliban and the rest of the terrorist are sick people and will pay the price in the end!

    January 21, 2011 at 12:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • salerno

      American people will pay the price in form of less buying power, more taxes, higer inoccupancy, less safety. I have no problem. Even the Taliban commander are unscated by drones. They are not so effective like the stupid people believe, as the main leaders were not hit after so many years. I have largely debated this issue with other enthusiastic and ridiculouse posters, and as always the truth is starting to come out. I am always right, becouse I am an independent thinker, while my opponents are brainwashed and believe all the lies their government is telling.

      January 21, 2011 at 1:19 pm | Report abuse |
      • salerno

        Yacobi – you are right, they can see maximum 30 degrees of truth. This is called short sighted. Western people are fooled by their bad politicians. They always failed their goals. Where is Iraq democracy ? Today Blair was very embarassed answering to the Iraq commission accusing him the war was illegal as the UN resolution (551) did not allow that war, and France was intentioned to veto an eventual war.

        January 21, 2011 at 3:17 pm | Report abuse |
      • Dan in Lafayette,IN

        America and NATO allies will obliterate Islamic extremism,,360 cult and the Anti-Christ on the day of redemption!

        January 21, 2011 at 3:48 pm | Report abuse |
      • salerno

        Dan – America and Nato created what you call Islamic extremism, and they are supporting it right now.

        January 21, 2011 at 4:41 pm | Report abuse |
      • Dindy

        salerno...Islam has a history of attacking other religion. They attacked India also (Buddha Gaya) They burnt the Nalanda University too)
        all wars must end sooner or later. Sooner is best. Before America or Nato... these extremists had this problem in their Genes.

        January 22, 2011 at 11:00 am | Report abuse |
      • salerno

        Dindy – Attacks against India were not motivated, but it is a problems of criminal individuals. There is a deviation inside Islam increased recently after the western colonialism. The whoab in S. Arabia are a MODERN form of Islam. In the past there was no big problem with the west. Even the crusades were limited incidents and the most bloodly crusades were those among the christianity (the Catari). Even in India in the middle age there were wars betwen Hindu and Buddhists.

        January 22, 2011 at 11:41 am | Report abuse |
      • markjuliansmith

        salerno This may come as a shock there is not such thing as an independent thinker. We are all brainwashed as you call it, no exceptions.

        Name one original thought you have ever had.

        Nobody is independent as nobody is free.

        Freedom like independence do not exist. Only the relative independence nature and fellow humans allow.

        As with infinity you can only approach freedom and independence you can never achieve it.

        Also certainty is the province only of Gods are you a God?

        January 23, 2011 at 6:15 pm | Report abuse |
      • Andie

        Furrealz? That's marvuleosly good to know.

        July 11, 2011 at 4:28 am | Report abuse |
      • rwhghum

        zAB99U cfkeyukxajln

        July 12, 2011 at 3:47 am | Report abuse |
  4. salerno

    HAHAHA !! Democracy is dangerous. The elected government could spread violence in the country. Better to avoid elections.

    January 21, 2011 at 10:59 am | Report abuse |
    • LarryKegel(US Army)

      Quite true salerno,quite true. More often than not,a bourgeois democracy is worse that a dictatorship since many elected leaders are either corrupt,incompetent or both!

      January 21, 2011 at 11:14 am | Report abuse |
      • Dan in Lafayette,IN

        Good posting,Larry and salerno. Yes,a bourgeois democracy can indeed be worse than a benevolent dictatorship by a mile no matter what the right-wing media says!!!

        January 22, 2011 at 4:43 am | Report abuse |