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Elections to be held at all costs, promises Karzai

Elections to be held at all costs, promises Karzai

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Sep 15, 2013 - 20:42

KABULinfo-icon (PANinfo-icon): President Hamid Karzai on Sunday reiterated his commitment to conducting presidential and provincial council elections in 2014, calling the polls important for the country’s future.

At a meeting with tribal elders from Helmand and Zabul provinces at the Presidential Palace, Karzai categorically ruled out any delay in holding the elections.

“We’ll definitely hold the polls, which augur well for Afghanistaninfo-icon. Retaining power without elections will raise questions about the system’s legitimacy,” the president said.

According to a statement from his office, Karzai urged his interlocutors to encourage Helmand’s people to get voter cards, participate actively in the elections and vote for candidates of their choice.

Governors of the two provinces also attended the meeting, in which some elders spoke about the need for opening more registration centres in Helmand and Zabul. They stressed tight security around the centres.

Earlier in the week, the president held out a similar assurance during an interview with an Indian daily. “A delay of a few weeks may be. But avoiding the election — no way! I’d like a new set-up. Any election is better than no election. We cannot delay elections for security considerations…”

If the peace process became a factor, then the Independent Election Commission and the High Peace Councilinfo-icon would decide on changes in the electoral schedule, he argued. “That has nothing to do with me. But I do not visualise any long delay in any case.”

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