Notes from an Afghan Analyst II

The following are some observations and a guest post from Mohammad Hasan Wafaey:

“The deal between Ghani and Abdullah has made John Kerry seem very strong, since the representatives were able to come up with even a basic solution to the situation and it seems that they were eventually just waiting for Kerry to arrive in Kabul.  It was only once he was there, after long hours with the candidates individually and with Karzai and his vice presidents that they were able to eventually break the deadlock.  The long meetings with all the key leaders show how difficult and precarious these negotiations were.

The announcement of a recount is evidence for most voters that there has been a massive amount of fraud.  The introduction of monitoring by UN and international experts shows that the international community has lost all faith in the credibility or impartiality of the electoral bodies in Afghanistan.  The whole story of the IEC and ECC’s roles in the current election shows that there is an urgent need for there to be some serious changes to the electoral role.  This includes the role and structure of the IEC and ECC as well as changes in the wider governance system.  The current structure simply does not meet the needs of the Afghan people.  In this sense, the change to a parliamentary system from a presidential one has real potential.

More concerning, perhaps, is the fact that many of the educated and urban youth like myself are suspicious that the Kerry deal may not be genuine.  Most people are not sure whether the candidates are really committed to this national unity government as they said at the press conference.  If they are, how is this different from a coalition government?  Since no documents, either formal or informal have been released, we are left with only the words of the media representatives from each candidates, which seem to be constantly shifting.

If this is a national unity conference there are also real concerns about how this will work in practice.  The issue does not seem genuinely resolved since the details of the deal are likely to be disputed by both candidates in the future.  If the candidates have really decided to divide the power 50-50, who will be president?  Who will be prime minister?  How can we ensure that power is really split?  These are problems that are going to arise continually and it seems like Kerry will need to make sure that they are being addressed.

In general, the issues created by the run off have really disappointed people and ruined their faith in the entire process.  It has halted public life and business.  The current situation makes people feel that the potential for an immediate civil war has been adverted for no, but people are still deeply concerned about the future as they wait for the results of the recount and look to see what the future government will look like.  All we can do, it seems, is hope and pray for peace and stability in the country.

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