by Aazem Arash
13 September 2014
President Hamid Karzai met with the two presidential candidates for a third time on Saturday morning. He met with the each of them separately, but for both he emphasized reaching an end to their disputes as soon as possible.
President Karzai also met with a number of Islamic scholars. At the gathering, he said that the will for cooperation between the two candidates is there, and they will most likely reach an agreement in the next two or three days.
Meanwhile, both Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai and Abdullah Abdullah camps have expressed optimism about the talks.
“In this meeting, President Karzai asked both candidates to reach an agreement within the legal framework and end the election crisis,” Ashraf Ghani spokesman Tahir Zahir said. “The international friends of Afghanistan are trying hard to get both candidates to have direct talks and they expect direct talks to start,” Zahir added.
The United Nations, along with the U.S., have taken up a mediating role between the candidates, hoping to bring them together on a national unity government deal that U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry helped broker in early August.
“The indirect discussions have not been bad, we hope that the talks will have results and peoples’ concerns will end,” Abdullah team member Syed Hussain Alemi Balkhi said.
According to both teams, the candidates remain at odds over the results of the election and the authorities to be given to the Chief Executive position.
“If there are numerous teams in the national unity government, everyone will have a share,” Balkhi said regarding the power sharing arrangement. “Now that there are two teams, it is clear that there will be an equal share in all areas of government.” Abdullah’s team has been vocally in favor of making the Chief Executive the head of the Council of Ministers.
Yet Ghani’s supporters are not inclined to give the position, which is a critical part of the national unity framework agreed to by the candidates, so much power. “The Afghan Constitution must be the red line, the election must be taken in to consideration a peaceful transition of power and we welcome any agreement within the framework of the Constitution,” Zahir said.