It is important therefore that the next head of the Independent Election Commission (IEC) is not a creature of the Karzai court. Mr Karzai should insist that the outgoing head quickly announces, as promised, a timetable for the 2014 presidential election. He should work with parliament to agree on a new electoral-reform law ready for the 2015 parliamentary elections. He and the IEC should set up a new voter register, ideally backed up with an electronic ID system to combat fraud. Lastly, Mr Karzai should refrain from nominating a candidate as his successor. Only by standing back completely can he show that the election will be reasonably fair.