Abdullah: No clear winner in Afghan elections

Afghan presidential candidate says agreement calls for both candidates to form the government together, whatever the results of recount.

Abdullah: No clear winner in Afghan elections

World Bulletin / News Desk

The Afghan presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah has said it was agreed by both of the country's presidential hopefuls that, regardless of the election outcome, the two would form the future government together.

Abdullah made the statement at a press conference Thursday in Kabul, declining to elaborate on the details on the deal. He said there would be no "absolute winner." His rival, Ashraf Ghani, the leading candidate according to the preliminary results -- rejected by Abdullah -- has said no such thing so far about the future government.

The matter of a unity or coalition government could become another reason for a political crisis in the war-ravaged country.

According to a political deal made and announced last week by the U.S.secretary of state, the candidates agreed upon an audit process to recount all of the more than 8 million votes and later form a government of national unity, by respecting the results.

Abdullah, however, said Thursday that, according to the deal, the future government would comprise members of both teams. The former foreign minister did not reveal details but emphasized that members of both teams would be present in the future Kabul government.

But he said it was not clear yet which team was going to win. Emphasizing the transparency of the audit process, he nominated Waheed Ummer, a former presidential spokesman, as his representative to the Independent Election Commission. The audit process began Thursday with national and international monitors supervising the recount of more than 20 thousand ballot boxes from across the country.

Abdullah led a massive protest movement against alleged election fraud and cut off ties with the Independent Election Commission.

Polls had shown him ahead. In a late evening press conference on June 14, he applauded the security forces, election officials and Afghan people for voting. A few days later, when the local media started reporting a lead for Ashraf Ghani, Abdullah’s camp protested that there was evidence of widespread fraud. It is believed a strong election campaign in the Pashun-dominated southern and eastern areas and strong backing from Uzbek politician Rasheed Dostam in the north played significant role in Ghani's lead.

Thursday, a meeting between the two candidates was postponed as Ghani went to meet the victims of a deadly bomb blast in the southern Paktika province. Apart from other matters, Abdullah and Ghani were to discuss the appointment of new elections secretary. The former secretary, Ziaul Haq Amarkhel resigned following allegations of fraud against him. Amarkhel, however, maintains that he resigned only to end an "excuse" by Abdullah, and so that the landmark process could go ahead.

Many in Afghanistan fear the formation of the future government will not be an easy ride. A spokesman for Ghani said Monday that if they win the elections, they would create a new post of chief executive and had it over to Zia Masood, an ethnic Tajik and brother of Ahmad Shah Masood, the slain Afghan leader. Giving this important seat to Masood, an ally of Ghani, was aimed at accommodating Tajik nationals in a national unity government.

The claims made by Abdullah Thursday regarding the future government conflict with those of Ashraf Ghani’s spokesman. All eyes were now on the audit process that could last three months before a winner is announced.

Last Mod: 18 Temmuz 2014, 10:22
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