Afghan President orders presidential poll in April

March 1st, 2009 - 3:24 am ICT by IANS  

Kabul, March 1 (DPA) Afghan President Hamid Karzai ordered in a decree Saturday that the country’s presidential poll, which had been slated for August, be held in April.
The Afghan Election Commission will therefore conduct presidential, parliamentary, provincial council, district council and municipality elections in accordance with the constitution, the decree said.

According to the Afghan constitution, the presidential election should be held at least 30 days before the end of the presidential term May 22.

The election commission “shall also prepare the necessary conditions for the participation of the all people in a transparent, fair, free, secret and direct election according to the provisions of the law,” the decree said.

The polls had been put back to Aug 20 by the election commission last month from April because of logistical and security problems.

Opposition groups had responded to the earlier postponement by saying that they would not recognize Karzai as legitimate president after May 22.

In the decree, Karzai, who has said in the past that he will run for a second term, justified his move by referring to the 63rd and 64th articles of the constitution, which leave the president with authority and responsibility to ensure and protect the country’s supreme law.

But analysts see Karzai’s decree as political move to wrong-foot his opponents and use government resources to help his campaign.

In the decree the president also called on opposition groups to take part in the elections. Taliban militants have already vowed to disrupt the vote.

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