Election Logjam Persists

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Xinhua News

Sept 18, 2014

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KABUL, Sept. 18 (Xinhua) — The lingering process of Afghan presidential elections would last for several more days, if not for weeks or months, as presidential aspirants¬†Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai have failed to reach a power sharing agreement.

The duo has been in a hard bid to set up a national unity government and the authorities of president and chief executive in the next administration.

Spokesman for Ghani Ahmadzai’s team Faizullah Zaki in talks with reporters on Tuesday admitted that the candidates had failed to resolve differences on formatting a national unity administration, saying the meeting was held in friendly environment but no significant progress had been achieved.

Reacting to the talks between presidential candidates, a spokesman for Abdullah’s camp, Mujiburahman Rahimi, in talks with a local television, expressed hope for reaching agreement and overcoming the stalemate soon.

Meanwhile, Afghan observers are of the view that the election impasse would persist for several more days if not weeks or months.

“It would take the country into worst crisis if the election commission announces the election results in the absence of the agreement between the two candidates,” political analyst Nazari Pariani said in talks with local television channel Tolo.

Afghanistan’s presidential election was held on April 5 and since then, none of the eight contenders had failed to secure more than 50 percent of the votes, the runoff was conducted between two frontrunners Abdullah and Ghani Ahmadzai on June 14.

Abdullah who won majority of the votes in the first round of the elections dropped down in the second round balloting disputed the transparency of the polls and demanded recounting votes and auditing the ballot boxes.

To solve the stalemate, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry visited Kabul in July and brokered a deal between the two candidates, under which, the election winner becomes president and the loser to become Chief Executive, a post equal to that of Prime Minister in the proposed national unity government.

Both candidates have held series of talks to reach agreement but differences over the authorities of the president and chief executive continues to snag the talks.

Chairman of the election commission told reporters last week to announce the election results within days.

Furthermore, Afghan defense minister General Bismillah Mohammadi in his speech in Wolesi Jirga or Lower House of Parliament on Wednesday admitted that the continued election standoff had affected security situation, urging the candidates to reach an agreement for the sake of national interests.

Ghani Ahmadzai’s team has been insisting that the president should be the cabinet chief, while Abdullah’s camp opposes the notion and instead required the chief executive to be cabinet chief.

“Continued inflexibility over power sharing between the two teams has blocked the way to reach agreement,” the political analyst said, saying that the stalemate would continue further than expected.

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http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/indepth/2014-09/18/c_133652469.htm

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