Sunday, October 24, 2004
Afghan Elections and the US Elections: Compare and Contrast
Qanuni finished a distant second to Karzai's 55% as multiple candidates ran for president, so the concession actually came rather late. It does show that the Afghanis have bought into the democratic process, though, allowing that despite some unavoidable irregularities that come with any first attempt at free elections, the people have spoken and overwhelmingly chose Hamid Karzai as their first constitutional president.
Qanuni's concession may, in fact, represent a larger milestone than the election itself: an acceptance of a democratically-achieved result by the loser. Without that precedent, democracy itself cannot survive. If the loser resorted to extra-democratic means to reverse the result, Afghani democracy would have died at birth.
Qanuni's concession is a brilliant lesson for those in supposedly mature democracies to follow. Next to his support for his country and his dedication to the democratic process, the Kerry campaign's pledge to ignore the voting results on November 2nd and declare themselves the winners regardless appears especially petty and small. What is it about democracy that the Kerry campaign cannot bring itself to support?