Early Analysis of a Fragile Agreement

Two pieces of additional analysis of the deal as the dust starts to settle.  The first is a piece from AREU on the constitutional implications and challenges presented by the deal.  Perhaps the most interesting paragraph suggests:

“It is unfortunate that neither the United Nations, who assumed responsibility for conducting a 100% audit of the votes cast, nor the IEC saw fit to release the election results before the signing of the Agreement.  Reports in the media suggest that Continue reading

Abdullah says all the right things, but Rashid’s not so sure

Abdullah is saying al the right things about the deal with Ghani, giving some hope that the inauguration may actually go forward next week, which we certainly doubted at a few points.  Tolo quoted Abduallah as saying:

“Together, we, the government of national unity, will be able to address the problems of the country. “We’ve come together, hand in hand, to work toward a better tomorrow.”

He even went so far as to apologize somewhat for his role in the electoral chaos and attempted to somewhat justify the drawn out process (though nothing along those lines from Ghani yet): “I apologize to the nation that the election process was not completed sooner.  All our negotiations in the past months have been to ensure the interests of the nation.” (See the entire article on Tolo here)

Not everyone, however, is convinced and yesterday noted analyst Ahmed Rashid wrote an op-ed in The New York Times, which is a scathing (to put it mildly) critique of Continue reading

An E-Roundtable Discussion of the Afghan Elections by Members of Civil Society

What follows below is a virtual roundtable discussion that we arranged between a series of members of Afghan civil society who have worked on elections at various times.  It includes their thoughts on the recent deal between Ghani and Abdullah, as well as the potential repercussions for democracy in Afghanistan.

Farid Bayat:

First of all I would like to congratulate to the new president and applaud the political progress that has been made.   It should be pointed out, however, that this was not the outcome and anyone was expecting.  But, at least, now we have been able to end the uncertainty and ambiguity in our political system that has caused many people to suffer.  In my option, this solution, while flawed, made the best of a bad political situation.  We were on the brink of returning to civil war and many people were discussing the possibility of leaving the country.

That being said, the people still have Continue reading

Discontent Grumbling or the Beginning of the End

Over the past days both analysts and Afghan voters have been trying to sort out what Ghani and Abdullah’s agreement will mean for the political future of Afghanistan.  One of the things that is clear is that the agreement will only work if supported by the vast majority of key political players in the country.  There is particular concern about some of Abdullah’s hardline supporters.  As these leaders, however, begin to respond to the agreement, the crucial question is whether their complaints are simply political positioning or whether they signal genuine dissent which could lead to an unraveling of the deal.  Already Governor Atta, a key Abdullah supporter, has come out stating that Ghani is not actually the president (see excerpts from an interview on Khaama here) and some parliamentarians are suggesting that Election Commission officials should actually be put on trial (see the Tolo article here).

There are two important things to keep in mind here: First of all, no one should be surprised by Continue reading

What they are saying about the deal: Part II

We had a previous post on what prominent actors were saying about the lack of a decision (see here).  This is a follow up piece on responses to what is hopefully the decision that resolves the current crisis.

  • Ashraf Ghani: “Peace is our demand and, God willing, it will come…I and Dr. Abdullah are committed to the commitments we have made before the people.” (from The Washington Post here)
  • The White House (see Reuters here) : “This agreement marks an important opportunity for unity and increased stability in Afghanistan.  We continue to call on all Afghans – including political, religious, and civil society leaders – to support this agreement and to come together in calling for cooperation and calm.”
  • The Taliban spokesman in a Continue reading

Why Results Matter Part II

With many breathing a sign of relief as the Abdullah and Ghani have announced a still unspecified power sharing arrangement, the rather surreal Alice in Wonderland approach to elections continues.  On Saturday a deal was announced between Abdullah and Ghani which made Ghani president and Abdullah was given a Chief Executive position.  It was only after this deal was announced at a press conference with the two candidates that the ‘Independent’ Election Commission announced that Ghani had won the election (for more see this NYT article here).  During the announcement, however, no results were released.  Nor were final number of votes invalidated or total number of votes casts mentioned.  This is in sharp contrast with earlier rounds of voting when the IEC has released detailed results regarding polling station numbers even before the results were finalized.

As a result, it is clear that part of the deal was that the results would Continue reading