Afghan presidential poll on October 9
* Parliamentary polls delayed till April 2005
KABUL: Afghanistan will hold a landmark presidential poll on October 9, the UN-Afghan election body said on Friday, despite widespread violence blamed on Islamic militants bent on derailing the country’s first direct vote.
But parliamentary polls, which were meant to have been held at the same time, will be delayed until April, Zakim Shah, the chairman of the Joint Electoral Management Body (JEMB), said in an announcement on state-run Kabul TV.
“The Joint Electoral Management Body announces that the presidential elections be held on the 18th of Mizan (October 9) in the year of 1383 (2004), and the National Assembly and provincial elections be held in the month of Sawr (April) of 1384 (2005),” he said, referring to dates in the Afghan calendar.
The US-backed government of President Hamid Karzai had hoped to hold both elections in June, but logistical problems and lack of security in the south and east forced a delay. More than six million of an electorate of some 10 million have registered to vote, but persistent militant attacks and slow disarmament of factional militia forces have raised concerns about whether conditions can be created for a free and fair vote. reuters