Officials: Afghan Parliament Vote To Be Postponed

KABUL (AP) — Parliamentary elections scheduled for May 22 will be postponed until the fall, an Afghan official involved in the process said Sunday — a move that is likely to be welcomed by Western countries pressing for reforms after a fraud-marred presidential poll.

The Afghan official said the Independent Election Commission made the decision because it lacks the $120 million needed to pay for the vote.

The official said the elections will be held on Sept. 18 instead. A Western diplomat confirmed the vote is to be postponed.

Both officials spoke on condition of anonymity in exchange for releasing the information ahead of a formal announcement expected later Sunday.

The U.N. and donor countries wanted more time to implement reforms after a fraud-marred presidential poll last year that re-elected Hamid Karzai as the leader of the insurgency-wracked country.

Ali Najafi, head of the election commission, has said the commission needs about $50 million from the international community to meet the election’s estimated budget of $120 million.

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