President Hamid Karzai said on Thursday he is considering calling presidential elections a year early,to lessen the strain that could be caused by foreign combat troops leaving Afghanistan at the same time as the nation is holding a national ballot.
The next presidential elections are scheduled for 2014,and the majority of NATO combat forces will leave Afghanistan by the end of that year. Karzai will be at the end of his second five-year term and the constitution bars him from running for a third term. Holding the vote in 2013 also could mean Karzai would step down earlier.
Karzai,who spoke during a press conference with visiting NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen,said no final decision has been made about early elections .
An official with Afghanistans election commission said preparations were still under way for the balloting in March 2014,and that there was no news of an earlier vote.
Rasmussen,who was in Kabul for talks on the transition of security responsibilities from the international coalition to Afghan security forces,said NATO it is on track to fully hand over responsibility by the end of 2014 as scheduled.