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World Briefing / Afghanistan

Opposition to earlier election

March 02, 2009|TIMES WIRE REPORTS

President Hamid Karzai's call to move up elections from late summer to early spring drew protests from opponents who regard it as a political gambit.

Karzai directed the election commission to set a date that adheres to the constitution, which calls for a vote 30 to 60 days before May 22.

In January, the commission set the vote for Aug. 20, saying an election could not be held sooner because of security concerns, heavy spring snows in the mountains and ballot distribution issues.

Some lawmakers, including one declared candidate, said Karzai should resign in May and let the speaker of the upper house become caretaker.

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