An American organization tasked with furthering democracy in developing nations says next April's elections in Afghanistan will not be perfect, but they should be better than the previous polls which were marred by widespread fraud.

The National Democratic Institute for International Affairs said Monday that an assessment mission to Afghanistan found "guarded optimism" about the April 5 polls that will elect a new president to succeed Hamid Karzai, along with local council members that will administer the country's 34 provinces.

Bu the organization said the elections still faced "serious challenges," including security, potential fraud and weather conditions that could affect voter turnout.