Bennington College

Voting Together: Why Afghanistan’s 2009 Elections were (and were not) a Disaster

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dc.contributor.author Coburn, Noah
dc.contributor.author Larson, Anna
dc.date.accessioned 2016-10-19T17:56:06Z
dc.date.available 2016-10-19T17:56:06Z
dc.date.issued 2009-11
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/11209/10479
dc.description.abstract The Afghan elections in 2009 have become infamous for low turnout, fraud and insecurity. Delay in announcing the results and rumours of private negotiations have increased existing scepticism of the electoral process among national and international commentators. What has been overlooked, however, is the way in which—at least at the local level—these elections have been used to change the balance of power in a relatively peaceful manner. In many areas of Afghanistan, the polls emphasised local divisions and groupings, and highlighted the importance of political and voting blocs (which can include ethnic groups, qawms, or even family units) in determining political outcomes. Also, while perhaps not “legitimate” by international standards, these elections reflected the highly localised cultural and social context in which they took place: a context that is often patronage-based and in which power is gained through constant struggle and dialogue between political groups and leaders. This study presents the August 2009 electoral process as it played out in three different areas of Kabul Province: Dasht-i Barchi, Qarabagh and Istalif. In each of these locations, the presidential and provincial council elections were key events in shifting the balance of local power. These areas also demonstrate the different ways in which voting blocs functioned and, while not representative of the country as a whole, provide valuable insights into the meaning and usefulness of elections at the local level. en_US
dc.language.iso en_US en_US
dc.publisher Afghanistan Research and Evaluation Unit (AREU) en_US
dc.subject Political participation -- Afghanistan.
dc.subject Elections -- Afghanistan.
dc.title Voting Together: Why Afghanistan’s 2009 Elections were (and were not) a Disaster en_US
dc.type Article en_US


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