Peter W. Galbraith

Afghanistan votesThe United Nations needs to appoint an envoy to oversee the runoff elections in Afghanistan because fraud could stain this vote as well, Galbraith says. The biggest obstacle to fair elections is the Independent Election Commission, which administers them. Afghan President Karzai appointed its members, and six of the seven commissioners voted in favor of procedures to benefit his campaign. The UN must stop pretending this is not a pro-Karzai institution and appoint an envoy to supervise the elections impartially. Even if Karzai wins the second round, the fraud from the first election will taint his victory. Dr. Abdullah, Karzai’s opponent, proposed constitutional changes for power-sharing, and the United Nations should encourage Afghans to consider them to emerge from the crisis of legitimacy.

Galbraith, a former United States ambassador to Croatia, was the deputy special representative of the secretary-general of the United Nations in Afghanistan from June 1 to Oct. 1.

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