Clinton Statement on the Afghanistan Election « The Washington Independent
Fresh out from the secretary of state. Shorter Clinton: we’re not playing favorites.
In three days’ time, the Afghan people will go to the polls to elect a President and new Provincial Councils. This election day will not be without its challenges, but the Afghan people have seen unparalleled campaigning, debate and dialogue in their country. Presidential candidates have debated each other in public and travelled throughout the country to talk to voters. The Afghan media and Afghan leaders have made politics accessible to Afghans in new ways. The Afghan people should be commended for their courage in conducting this election despite the stresses of wartime, and we and the international community are proud to support them.
The United States of America remains impartial in this election. We do not support or oppose any particular candidate. Like the Afghan people we want to see credible, secure and inclusive elections that all will judge legitimate. We hope that, from top to bottom, every effort will be taken to make election day secure, to eliminate fraud, and to address any complaints fairly and quickly.
It will be several days before we have preliminary results and we hope initial reports will refrain from speculation until results are announced. Final results could take several weeks. We call on candidates and their supporters to behave responsibly before and after the elections**.
Finally, we look forward to working with whomever the Afghan people select as their leaders for the next five years. We trust that the next President, as well as provincial council members also being elected at this time, will work for the interests of all the people of Afghanistan.
My emphasis. As Adam Serwer reported on Wednesday, Clinton’s special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan, Amb. Richard Holbrooke, recently mused that a great deal of perceived legitimacy in the elections depends on press coverage. Clinton seems to be saying here that she doesn’t want to see premature declarations of victory. But how in the world would you prevent those?