Thursday, January 29, 2009

Afghanistan Presidential Elections Postponed for Three Months

Written by: Zabihullah Noori

The first democratic constitution of Afghanistan got violated by the first elected president of Afghanistan. The international community is also involved in this apparent violation of the Afghan Constitution.

The Afghan Independent Election Commission AIEC announced this morning (January 29, 2009) that the next presidential elections of Afghanistan will take place on August 20, 2009, three months later than what the Afghan constitution states.

Article 61 of the Afghan Constitution clearly states, “The presidential term shall expire on 1st of Jawza of the 5th year after the elections.

Elections for the news president shall be held within 30 to 60 days prior to the end of the presidential term.” First of Jawza of 1388 of Hijri calendar coincides with May 20, 2009.

On one hand, the postponement of elections create a gap in the leadership of the country, after Karzai's term is over; on the other hand, it has created deep concerns among political analysts about who will take over the leadership of Afghanistan, because the Constitution is clear that the president shall announce his two vice-presidents at the time of elections, which means 1st of Jawza or May 20, is the last day for two of his vice-presidents as well.

Article 68 of Afghanistan Constitution states, “In case any of the Vice-Presidents resign or die, another person shall be appointed by the President with the endorsement of the House of the People. In case of simultaneous death of the President and the First Vice-President, the Second Vice-President, [End of term according to law makers is equal to simultaneous death in this article of the constitution] the President of the House of Elders, the President of the House of Representatives and the Foreign Minister shall succeed respectively and, in that order, and, according to Article 67 of this Constitution, shall assume the duties of the President.

Now the questions at hand are:
1. Can the president legally run the county, from May to August 2009, while his term is over on May 20, 2009 by the Afghan constitution?
2. Who will take over the presidency after the completion of Karzai’s term?
3. August 20 is the Election Day, which means the ballot counting; the announcement of the winner in the race; and the power transfer will take longer than three months. What will be the position of the new replacement of the president and for how long will he be appointed?
4. What will be his legal status and the role of acting president in leading the Army?
5. Who will lead the Afghan Army, if not the acting president?

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