Once again I find myself faced with the prospect of giving out a Chutzpah of the Week award early in the week. In this case the grounds for the award are based on a report from Kabul by Matthew Green just released on the Financial Times Web site:
Afghan officials on Tuesday defied western powers to release preliminary presidential election results that gave incumbent Hamid Karzai a more than 50 per cent share of the vote from the August 20 poll.
The Independent Election Commission results came just hours after a separate United Nations-backed electoral body announced it would launch a partial recount after it found “clear and convincing” evidence of fraud. The move by the UN-backed Electoral Complaints Commission was seen as a last-minute bid to block the release of any more results.
Western diplomats have been lobbying the IEC not to announce further results until some 2,000 complaints submitted to the ECC have been investigated, fearing that even a preliminary result that pointed to a Karzai victory could spark unrest.
Apparently, the semantics of "Independent" for the IEC involves independence from Western opinion, rather than the authority of the incumbent government. Presumably, this means that this government assumes that the West cares more about the threat of the Taliban regaining control than they do about the legitimacy of the democratic practices they claim to be supporting. Whether or not this assumption is valid, there is enough chutzpah in invoking it so blatantly to justify this week's award!