Afghanistan Analysts Network – English

Martine van Bijlert

What the preliminary results tell us (1): Kabul provincial council

Martine van Bijlert

With (international) attention focused firmly on the complexities surrounding the Presidential vote, the struggle for a fair outcome in the provincial council elections continues. The competition was more localised and the level of organisation of the fraud more limited than in the Presidential elections, but the margins needed to win were also much smaller. Many […]

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AAN Election Blog No. 32: We have a new universe – and an old problem

Martine van Bijlert

The saga of the Afghan election vote count and recount is nearing its conclusion, although even the concluding phase may still drag on for quite a while. The process (oops*) has become so technically complicated and politically multilayered that voters, candidates, donors and observers have lost track of what is happening and how worried they […]

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AAN Election Blog No. 31: We have a result – sort of – and some very frayed relations.

Martine van Bijlert

Suddenly there it was: the final announcement of the preliminary results of the Afghan Presidential election. The event itself was a bit of an anticlimax, but the announcement means that there is one thing less to wait for, although the wait is by no means over. It means that the focus has shifted and that […]

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Polling Day Fraud in the Afghan Elections

Martine van Bijlert

Journalists, observers and diplomats have caught on to the fact that all was not well with last month’s Afghan elections, but it is not always clear what exactly happened and why that is a problem. The latest AAN briefing paper gives an overview of the various forms of irregularities that took place on polling day. […]

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AAN Election Blog No. 30: Which votes are to be counted – a crucial battle

Martine van Bijlert

As the press continued to recount stories from far-flung districts (outraged elders, stuffed ballot boxes, intimidated electoral staff); as the international actors were “allowing the process to run its course”; as the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) stoically continued to announce its batches of preliminary count results, while releasing more and more “dirty” ballot boxes into […]

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AAN Election Blog No. 27: A mysterious election and a fluid count

Martine van Bijlert

Analysing the 2009 Afghan election as they are unfolding is quite a unique experience. An observer from Global Democracy, recently quoted in Kabul Weekly (26 August 2009), aptly called this “a mysterious election” in which “even the number of voters is not known”. And mysterious it is. Even the most basic analysis is shaky in […]

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AAN Election Blog No. 26: If no one saw it, did it happen? – AAN recommended election reading (UPDATED)

Martine van Bijlert

The further you get from where things happened, the easier it is to wonder whether they ever took place at all. And whether the reports (and echoes of reports) and denials (and echoes of denials) are not just a matter of claim, counterclaim and unsubstantiated rumour. Whether the calls of fraud are not just part […]

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A response to AAN Election Blog No. 23

Martine van Bijlert

A reader responds to AAN Election Blog No. 23 (How much are we expected to believe?): “This article was forwarded to me by a friend. I was impressed with this article as it really reflects the concern of an Afghan who stepped out of his/her house with a hope and besides all risks cast his/her […]

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AAN Election Blog No. 23: How much are we expected to believe?

Martine van Bijlert

As journalists are starting to pack up and go home and observers are formulating their conclusions (some irregularities, need to work on the voter registration) it seems that the real contest is yet to start. The network of governors, district governors, police chiefs and local commanders, that was mobilised in the run up to the […]

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AAN Election Blog 21: Observing the Vote – An Election with Many Faces

Martine van Bijlert

Election Day 2009. After the suspense of the last few days, things seemed refreshingly normal. Kabul city was quiet, but people were chatting at the side of the road, riding their bicycles and allowing their children to play outside. I had decided to return to the areas where I had watched my first Afghan election […]

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AAN Electoral Blog No. 19: The day before the 2009 elections

Martine van Bijlert

Kabul 19 August 2009. The day started with a several hour shoot-out in Kabul’s old centre after a handful of armed men attacked a bank. The attack was claimed by a Taliban spokesperson and the story that was passed around was that the Taliban had entered the city and that fighting had started, which sounded […]

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AAN Electoral Blog No. 18: Some last minute figures

Martine van Bijlert

Last minute figures indicate that there will be no voting in nine districts; that it is still not clear how many polling station are planned to be open (the ambiguity could lead to ‘ghost polling’), and that FEFA observers will cover roughly 60% of the country’s districts. Complaints received by the ECC show marked regional […]

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