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The Curious Case of Afghanistan

From: Journal of Democracy
Volume 17, Number 2, April 2006
pp. 104-117 | 10.1353/jod.2006.0036


On 18 September 2005, nearly six and a half million Afghans voted in the freest and most competitive legislative elections they had ever experienced. The election vividly demonstrated that vibrant and meaningful elections can be conducted even under the most unpromising circumstances. But the Afghan elections also showed that designing appropriate institutions tailored to the needs of an emerging democratic society remains the greatest challenge. The single nontransferable vote (SNTV) electoral system came about by a path of muddled missteps, and it was a disservice to the millions of Afghans who deserved a clear and transparent tool to craft their first democratic parliament.