Election officials in Afghanistan are considering delaying next year’s presidential election by several months, amid disarray in counting votes from last month’s parliamentary balloting. Holding presidential elections by April 20 was previously one of international donors’ red lines in Afghanistan, especially after an embarrassing four-year delay in holding parliamentary elections. Now, however, some politicians and observers are suggesting that the electoral fiasco might help encourage peace talks with the Taliban, who are unlikely to agree to a deal if a new president is about to be elected for a five-year term. Three officials at the Independent Elections Commission confirmed on Sunday that discussions were underway on a potential delay for the presidential vote, but they insisted no decision had been made.
An international official knowledgeable about the elections said the commission had already decided that the elections cannot be held on time.
The official, speaking on condition of anonymity because the official decision had not been announced, said that several dates were being discussed for that election, but that none included April 20.
The commission previously said that presidential elections would be held April 20, and President Ashraf Ghani was among the officials declaring that date should not be changed.