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Crisis looms in Afghanistan.


The announcement Friday of Election Commission Chairman Ahmad Yusuf Nuristani that the audit on the votes in the runoff presidential polls has been completed and that the final results would be announced soon are expected to further aggravate instead of resolving the political crisis in the country, according to analysts.

In talks with reporters, Nuristani categorically said that the audit process of the ballot boxes will be concluded Sunday and the final results of the polls will be announced within days.

Nuristani made the announcement while talks between presidential candidates Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai on the formation of national unity government have been stalled. To get the talks back on track, Jeff Feltman, deputy secretary general of the United Nations, has reportedly held separate meetings with the presidential candidates and urged them to resume negotiations as soon as possible and reach agreement on the extent of the authority of the chief executive, a position that is reserved for whoever will be declared the loser in the vote audit. The position, akin to the post of prime minister in other governments, is a key part in the agreement for the formation of national unity government brokered by US Secretary of State John Kerry in mid-July.

Under the Kerry-brokered agreement, the winner of the election will become the president replacing outgoing President Hamid Karzai, and the loser will become chief executive in the proposed national unity government.

Abdullah's team for the unity talks wants the chief executive to be the head of Cabinet while the opposing team argued that such an arrangement would violate the Afghan Constitution. "If transparency is overlooked in the election process, the country would be plunged into a deeper crisis," said political analyst and veteran journalist Nazari Pariani.

Abdullah, who secured the majority votes in the April 5 presidential elections but became a second-placer in the June 14 runoff, had accused the election commission of committing fraud in Ghani Ahmadzai's favor. He demanded a recount of the votes and an audit of the ballot boxes. "Announcing election results ahead of reaching agreement between the two candidates on the unity government is, in fact, a declaration of war because Abdullah's team won't accept it unless its concerns over election transparency are allayed," said Pariani, the editor-in-chief of newspaper the Daily Mandegar.

Pariani said that efforts are under way to narrow the gap between the two candidates even as he urged them to reach a compromise for the sake of the Afghan people who have suffered enough not just because of the political deadlock but also because of the continuing threat of the Taleban insurgents.

Amid the impending announcement by the election commission of the final result of the vote audit, Gov. Atta Mohammad Noor of the northern Balkh province, one of Abdullah's diehard supporters, warned that they will not only reject any government that would be installed through fraud but will "also throw it away so far that its hands, feet and head are broken."

For his part, Abdullah's opponent Ghani Ahmadzai has said that anyone who would attempt to break the law or disregard lawful decisions issued by duly-authorized agencies would be isolated.


Courtesy: Xinhua

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Publication:Arab News (Jeddah, Saudi Arabia)
Date:Sep 15, 2014
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