But the danger is that if you reject 500,000 votes and President Karzai ends up with 50.3% and is therefore according to the election rules the winner, you have this terrible situation where the President you had massive fraud committed almost all of it, 805, 90% on behalf of the President and yes he is going to be declared the winner of the election and I think that from a standpoint of political legitimacy it creates an untenable situation.  So now were are in this bind in probably the most important year for Afghanistan since 2001, the whole international community is debating what to do about Afghanistan, everybody is already complaining about corruption in the Afghan government and the problems of the legitimacy of the government and the strength, the insurgency and right in the middle of this as the White House is sitting deliberating about whether to send troops, whether to cut back, what to do, you have this election crisis pop right in the middle at the worst possible moment.

Speaker 1:That is pretty good, but disturbing summary and I do have a question you know, that relates to what happened in the past and then to take us in the future, in the 2004 election you said there was also election fraud, right was it of the same genre, was it the same sort of ballot box stuffing and just guys writing ballots for, was it the same type of fraud or was it a different kind of – was there any sort of electronic black box or central tabulator issues you know, in that election or was it all just sort of elementary primitive ballot box stuffing stuff.

Speaker 2: Yeah it was more of the same on a much, much lesser scale and the big difference that you have now is that in 2004 and 2005 the elections were run by the UN so you didn’t have this problem that the central body that is responsible for the elections maybe biased in favor of one candidate, you didn’t have that problem then.  So you both have much larger fraud issues at the local level at the ballot box level this time around and you also have this national problem where the authorities who are responsible for the fair and free conduct of the election may also have bias issues.

Speaker 1: Okay, so what happens next if we determine that substantial enough fraud happened that they have to do runoff or a re-election, can that be done in any way that would guarantee that the next one wouldn’t be the same mess?  I mean what should be done from international perspective or from our intervention that would create a more secure election environment?

Speaker 2: Yeah, it is a very good question because if there is a runoff called there is a very high pressure situation because Afghanistan is such a mountainous country, you really can’t conduct elections after the end of October, beginning of November because it will distant franchise the significant portion of the population because it is very hard to get everything out there due to snow.  So there will be enormous pressure to conduct the election very quickly if they can.  If they can’t and end up postponing it to the spring that is a whole other problem because President Karzai, I didn’t bring this up before as you may recall from the spring, his term ended according to the constitution in May of this year and so there was a big debate, can Karzai continue in office, should there be an interim government and everybody, because the elections were set for August, everybody expected the outcome, okay we will give him a few more months.  We won’t turn this into a national crises, but they won’t standby particularly after this fraud issue for Karzai to sit in the palace for another six months while we wait for the snow to melt.  So you have another type of crises on your hands if we can’t do the runoff before spring which is who should head the government and how do you make that decision.  But if you do hold it is going to be like a two week turnaround and so getting the security and the logistics in place let alone figuring out a better way to deal with fraud issues is going to be extremely challenging.