News - Afghanistan
Political leaders who met with President Hamid Karzai on Wednesday to discuss the 2014 presidential election fear Karzai is using his power to challenge measures intended to combat fraud.
Although Karzai has made it clear he will not challenge the next election himself, some politicians are anxious that he will use his power to ensure his preferred successor is elected.
"Our understanding of the discussion was that President Karzai and his team will launch the elections but our concern is over transparency because he can support any candidate and can use government facilities," Rights and Justice Party Moeen Marastiyal told TOLOnews Thursday.
Karzai fanned these concerns by repeating his opposition to two foreigners on the seven-person board of the Election Complaints Commission, and saying at the meeting that the previous election cards should be valid for the 2014 election, despite pundits having said that that they are insufficient to combat voter fraud.
"The president said that the Election Complaints Commission field office should be governed under the local appeal courts. We oppose this because they will be government organs after that," National Coalition of Afghanistan spokesman Fazel Ahmad Sancharaki said.
The Wednesday meeting between Karzai and political leaders across the spectrum was described in a presidential statement as a consultation, but some politicians said the president's position was unmoved.