Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Fraud is better than force

There's an interesting story in this week's New Statesman about the upcoming elections in Afghanistan. It seems that democracy is catching on like wildfire over there - voter registration has been so successful that the number of registered voters is greater than the eligible population. In some areas there are twice as many registered voters as adults, and tales of people with multiple voting cards abound (one taxi driver had five).

It is clear then that the elections are going to suffer from widespread fraud. But OTOH, that seems to be a lot better than the alternative of settling things with guns. They will be far from perfect, but if the results of the elections are accepted by the people, then the Afghan elections will represent a real and positive step towards democracy. In this case at least, fraud is better than force.