I believe that we can make this round better than the last round.  First of all it would only be an election between two people, it is not going to have the provisional council elections as well.  You had 38 others on the ballot for president and so it is much easier to have agents of the candidates in more places to increase the monitoring.  There was a very good effort by Afghan’s civil society organizations, I think that we could increase their presence as well, quite quickly.  You can do relatively quick trainings to teach people how to do poll monitoring.  I think that we can use creative ways to do what is called parallel vote tabulation where you have someone outside the polls watching the number of voters go in, so that when they say in the end we had you know, 700 people vote here and somebody standing outside says I only counted 200 people going into the station.  There are I think creative ways in which you could deal with some of these things, it is still going to be spot checking, you are not going to be able to be everywhere, but we also have the advantage of knowing where the worst fraud occurred, so clearly you got to get rid of the bad officials.  I mean for every single ballot box that they throw out or even those that are suspect, you got to remove the guy who was running that polling station and even if it is, I am not saying prosecute him because that is difficult, but at least just get him out of there because that is one step that you can take.  So you are not going to make it perfect, but I think that you could probably make it you know, better enough so that it would be a much legitimate outcome in the second round.

Speaker 1: So how many polling stations are there? I mean if the [???] center were going to go over and you know, have monitors hit every station, how many would there be?

Speaker 2: There are our polling centers and polling stations.  There were scheduled to be about 7000 polling centers and within those about 25,000 polling stations.  Because you know, and like often I think in ours, you know, you have a ballot box in one room, a ballot box in another room, there are counted at separate stations, but it is one locations.  There will be one school and there will be 3 different polling stations. So in reality you are only talking about you know, maybe 6000, to 7000 physical locations.  One of the big problems though was that some of these locations were in places that were simply too dangerous to open and so there is probably about thousand of those that you need to think seriously where can we put these so that they are going to be – that they will open and that people will be able to go out and vote.

Speaker 1: Okay I would like to open up to the audiences to see if they have any questions.  Okay if you could please state your name and any affiliation that you would like to represent.

Speaker 3: Sure, David Blum. I am just wondering could you [???] what actually happened if it would be possible that Dr. Abdullah were to win either another election or a runoff, what would be the outcome of that [???] policy or Afghanistan no domestic policy?

Speaker 2: Your question raises a very interesting issue and I will address it directly, but it raises this bigger issue about holding elections in Afghanistan period. And part of the reason I raised that is that apart from the corruption issue and concerns about whether we can get President Karzai to focus seriously on corruption there is no great substantive difference between where President Karzai stands and where Dr. Abdullah stands on major issues.  There are some minor issues which I think are much more interesting domestically for Afghans than internationally, one of those for instance is that Abdullah in part probably because he is so his mother is Tajik, his father is a Pashtun, but he is much more identified with the Tajiks and particularly the Panchari Tajiks and Afghanistan is a plurality state, there is no ethnic group that is a majority, but the Pashtuns have typically and almost exclusively ruled the country and as a result of that in part a lot of the other major ethnic groups are much more interested in political arrangements that would evolve for greater power sharing.  So that is at the national level they would prefer for instance a parliamentary system instead of a presidential system to allow for greater sort of proportional representation and they would prefer for, I wouldn’t call the federal system, but they would prefer a more decentralized system.

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