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Britain welcomes move to postpone Afghanistan’s elections

The British Government has welcomed Afghanistan's decision to postpone parliamentary elections until September.

The Foreign Office said the revised date — put back by four months due to a lack of funding — would allow more time to “ensure credible elections in support of Afghanistan's democratic progress”.

Last year's presidential vote was so marred by fraud that UN-backed fraud investigators threw

out more than a million ballots.

Fazil Ahmad Manawi, a senior election commissioner, yesterday announced that the vote scheduled for May 22 would be held on September 18 instead.

The country's Independent Election Commission (IEC) said it still needs about $50m from the international community to meet the vote's estimated budget of $120m.

Mr Manawi also attributed the delay to security concerns and logistical challenges.

A spokeswoman for the Foreign Office said: “We welcome the IEC's decision to postpone parliamentary elections until September 2010.”

The announcement came days before President Hamid Karzai was set to visit London for a key conference on Afghanistan.

Belfast Telegraph