25 Jan 2010

Afghan elections postponed

9:26 am on 25 January 2010

Elections in Afghanistan to elect a new Parliament are now delayed until September.

They were supposed to take place on 22 May. A new date of 18 September has now been set.

The Electoral Commission says the delay is due to a lack of budget, security and uncertainty and logistical challenges.

Last year's presidential election was marred by fraud and Western nations have been pushing for reforms before the parliamentary vote.

Parliament's deputy speaker Mirwais Yasini has welcomed the postponement and says the commission itself has to be overhauled.

The commission earlier said it needed about $US50 million to fund part of the election budget, estimated at $US120 million overall.

The BBC reports that United Nations funds are available to fund the elections, but are contingent on reforms.

A conference on Afghanistan is being held in London on Thursday.