lifeblood. That is why the Secret Ballot is used, so that people can vote in the privacy of the polling booth. Fairness means no cheating, tampering, ballot stuffing or any other form of "fixing'. Regularity means that there will be recurring elections and this means accountability, Those who are elected at one election, know that they will have to deliver or the people will "turf" them out at the next election. Some countries, like the U.S.A. have fixed elections , while others , especially in a Parliamentary System allow for more flexibility. Elections can be called by the government in power or can be called after a vote of non-confidence defeats the government
. Two recent elections show the difference between a free, fair and regular election and one that was not. The Japanese election represent the first and the Afghani election the second. The election in Japan saw the humiliating defeat of the incumbent government...an excellent example of accountability, which places the incoming government on notice....govern effectively or you will be replaced. The Afghani election was fraught with irregularity....tampering, stuffing, fear,coercion. Thousands of reports of abuses have been made. This immediately questions the legitimacy of any result, especially one giving victort to Karzai. He has led a corrupt, ineffective and incompetent government, propped up by the armed forces of N.A.T.O. and billions of dollars from donor nations. They wanted a clean election, to sell to their constituents at home, whose support for the war is waning. Now they are faced with this farce perpetrated by Karzai and his cronies, who have a lot to lose.....dollars and power. They could have won the election....the Pashtuns, who support Karzai ( favourite son) are a huge majority in the country but they chose to cheat.
Legitimacy come from the people and their vote. When that vote is compromised, the legitimacy is lost and the people feel insulted and abused. This exacerbate the already existing problems,ethnic and regional and deepen the fissures in an already fractured society. The Taliban and al Qaeeda are sure to take advantage of this and N.A.T.O., which is having a difficult time winning "the hearts and minds" of the Afghan people will have an even more difficult time, The frustrations of the disaffected voters will see an increase in enemy recruitment. Karzai must be made to see the error of his ways.. He must be brought to heel. He must share power with the opposition led by Abdullah. This is the only way some legitimacy can be brought to the election result. To allow Karzai to steal the election will be catastrophic for Afghanistan and especially N.A.T.O. There can be no rebuilding and there certainly will be no early end to this bloody war. It will get nastier and bloodier.