KABUL: Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Thursday met with the United Nations special envoy to the country and discussed the process of election audit, said a statement issued by the Presidential Palace.
“President Hamid Karzai met this morning with the UN special representative for Afghanistan Jan Kubis to discuss the process of votes audit currently underway. The President stressed that the Afghan people, who went in millions to exercise their right, have been waiting for months for the results and want to see their country have a new president and a new government to move things forward as normal,” said the statement.
The Afghan presidential runoff was held on June 14 between the two leading presidential hopefuls. Preliminary results showed that Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai went ahead. However, former Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah refused to accept the outcome and accused the election commission of committing fraud and demanded a vote recount.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry brokered an agreement between the two candidates on July 12, breaking the deadlock and paving the way for the formation of a national unity government in the country. Abdullah and Ghani agreed for the 100 percent audit of more than 8 million ballots. The audit began on July 17, but was suspended five times due to differences between candidates’ observers.
The Afghan leader also told Kubis that “the current situation has negatively affected the country’s security, stability and economy, and the election result must, therefore, be announced within the timeline as previously agreed (current month of August) so that the new president can take office.” Under the agreement between Abdullah and Ghani, the candidate who secures the majority of the votes in the audit process would become the country’s president, and his opponent would serve as chief executive, which is tantamount to the position of a prime minister.
With the election stalemate, there were reports that capital flight from the war-torn country has reportedly begun and the wealthy Afghans have started to siphon their resources to safe places in the Middle East, particularly Dubai. Since reaching the agreement, both presidential candidates Abdullah and Ghani Ahmadzai have visited each other’s houses and discussed the modalities of the national unity government.
Abdullah, who claimed victory in the April 5 presidential elections and June 14 runoff, had threatened to form a parallel government if his demands for recounting votes and ensuring transparency are not met. He, however, has since softened his stand and welcomed the Kerry-brokered agreement. Last week, he said that “a united, democratic government will be structured after auditing 100 percent of the votes.” The auditing of 100 percent of the votes that began on July 17 will be completed within three to four weeks.
All Afghans including those in government and ordinary people, such as roadside vendors, have shown support to the Kerry-brokered agreement between the two candidates on formation of national unity government, believing that the roadmap can lead to a viable peace in Afghanistan. The national unity government, according to Afghan observers, should represent all Afghans irrespective of their ethnic, cultural or religious background.
KABUL: Talks between Afghanistan’s rival presidential candidates have stalled again, in part ...