Monday, July 26, 2004

Afghanistan Election Update

RFE-RL reports that Education Minister Yunus Qanuni, another former Northern Alliance commander, has decided to run for President of Afghanistan. I'm not familiar with him, but he may have the backing of Defense Minister Muhammad Fahim, which could be significant. An additional point, however: This article protrays Karzai as having three major rivals - Qanuni, Dostum, and a poet named Latif Pedram. The latter two are basing their candidacies on allegations that Karzai is slighting non-Pashtuns who live in northern Afghanistan. Because of the ethnic make-up of the Northern Alliance, I'd guess Qanuni would draw on some of the same issues, though he's talking more about violations of the constitution. This means that Karzai remains more or less unchallenges among the country's most important ethnic group. If this does become an election you can analyze in conventional political terms rather than who has a bigger militia and can dispense more patronage, then Karzai still seems safe.


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