Karzai: Now With More Votes Than Legitimacy
The BBC is reporting that Hamid Karzai now has more than 54 percent of the vote in Afghanistan’s presidential election, meaning he can avoid a runoff election, despite more than 2,100 fraud complaints and a mandated partial recount. That places the legitimacy of Karzai’s victory in doubt, as the Obama administration feared. Whether the administration will push Karzai to form a unity government remains to be seen, as does whether Karzai will acquiesce.
Andrew Exum, a fellow at the Center for a New American Security and an adviser to Gen. Stanley McChrystal’s Afghanistan strategy review, calls this outcome “the worst case scenario.” It remains to be seen how counterinsurgency strategy in Afghanistan, dependent as it is on promoting the legitimacy of a host government’s rule, will be impacted by the dubious electoral outcome.