Afghan Opposition says Bro. Karzai’s Presidential vote delay unconstitutional

New York Times

Afghan Presidential Election Delayed

January 29, 2009

KABUL — Afghan officials said Thursday they had decided to postpone the country’s presidential election until August, saying they needed more time to prepare. But parliamentary opposition figures said that the decision, which appeared to contravene Afghanistan’s constitution, raised doubts about the legitimacy of what could be President Hamid Karzai’s final months in office.

Azizullah Ludin, the chairman of the Independent Election Commission, said that his office had decided to put off the voting until August 20, which would give election workers more time to register candidates and set up voting machinery, and soldiers more time to bring dozens of chaotic districts under control. Mr. Ludin said the new date would allow the presidential election to take place under more favorable summer weather.

But the decision appeared to contravene Afghanistan’s constitution, which states that the president’s term expires on the Roman calendar’s equivalent of May 22. Fresh presidential elections, the constitution says, must be held within thirty to sixty days before the end of that term.

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