(KABUL, Afghanistan) — Voters in Afghanistan could be heading to the polls to elect a new president a year earlier than scheduled, if the current administration gets its way.
President Hamid Karzai has discussed pushing up the election from 2014 to 2013 so that a new government would be in place for the planned hand-off of security responsibilities from the U.S. and NATO to his national forces.
What Karzai and most Afghans really want is coalition forces out of their country by next year, but if that is not feasible, he would just as soon hold elections in 2013.
At the moment, U.S. and Afghan negotiators are at work putting together a strategic partnership document that would go into effect after the scheduled 2014 withdrawal of coalition forces.
The agreement, when it happens, will likely follow the blueprint of one crafted by the U.S. and Iraq to guarantee Afghan sovereignty once troops have exited the country. It is supposed to be ready for Karzai and President Obama to sign at a summit in Chicago next month.
As for how Afghans might feel about an accelerated election process, there are still bad feelings from 2009 when Karzai won a second term amid allegations of widespread voting irregularities.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Paul Cruickshank and Michael Pearson, CNN