Cannon 'troubled' over Karzai's power move
Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon says he is troubled by Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai's apparent move to give himself power over a key electoral watchdog.
"We'll collectively look at this decree, and if need be, pressure will be applied upon … President Karzai's government so that he will respond in a correct way," Cannon told CBC's Power & Politics with Evan Solomon on Tuesday.
Cannon declined to give specific examples of the kind of pressure that might be applied and said that he is still waiting for an official translation of the presidential decree.
Karzai's decree, published last week, gives him authority to appoint the five members of Afghanistan's Electoral Complaints Commission (ECC), according to reports from the BBC and U.K. newspapers the Guardian and Telegraph.
Previously, the United Nations had the power to appoint three foreign experts to the commission. The final two members were appointed by the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission and the Supreme Court of Afghanistan.
The move is sure to upset NATO allies fighting insurgents in Afghanistan.
The commission, headed by Canadian Grant Kippen, helped expose massive fraud in last year's presidential race, forcing Karzai to call a second vote.
"A strong and independent ECC is vital for the future of a democratic Afghanistan, and any efforts to weaken this body are disturbing," Cannon said in a statement released after his interview with CBC.
"For the good of all Afghans, it is essential that the significant problems encountered during the 2009 presidential election be addressed quickly and transparently to secure credible, inclusive and secure parliamentary elections later this year."