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Sunday, September 18, 2005


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Great articles! I came over from Publius, because I noticed you were able to trackback. Um...if you don't mind me asking...how? lol. I'd really appreciate the learning experience.

PS. You're a California Yankee? From upstate NY, by any chance? lol. Have a great day.

Matthew Shugart

As I have said in a few posts over at Fruits & Votes, I do not think this election could have been expected to have the kind of excitement--or turnout--that we saw either in the earlier presidential election, or in the Iraqi elections (outside of the areas where the boycott was effective).

There is no sense in which national power is at stake in these Afghan elections. The president was already elected and has a fixed term, and holds the far more important office under the Afghan constitution.

Because of the electoral system being used, there is no way that voters can select a party that promises to pursue a vision for the nation or even for an ethnic or religious group, as was the case with Iraq's party-list proportional system.

Instead, voters are voting only for a single candidate among sometimes HUNDREDS running in their district, with no party affiliations listed (or sometimes known). The margin between the last few winners in a district and the first few losers will be tiny.

There really is no way voters can use a system like this to express any kind of mandate or will. All they can do is vote for some local notable. And other than the handful of "most notable" candidates in any province, most of those elected will have really tiny vote shares.

For these reasons, there just is bound to be much less perceived to be at stake than in the Afghan presidential election or the Iraqi assembly elections.

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