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

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

Parliament Speaks Up


Tolo News photo

As the deadlock drags out, their is a growing number of pleas for some sort of resolution to the crisis from President Obama and U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (see the VOA article here), to the ordinary Afghans who are sick of the situation.  Add to that list, the Afghan parliament or Wolesi Jirga.  While making numerous statements over the past months, several members, including the speaker of the house, have reiterated their willingness to help mediate the problem (see the Pajhwok article here).  On one level, this group, technically elected by the Afghan people on a province by province basis, could offer another more legitimate venue for mediation.  As ‘representatives’ of the people, this is a way of indirectly re-involving the voters who have essentially been completely removed from the process.  Additionally, as one law maker suggested, why have international solve the crisis, when the Afghan lawmakers are currently not playing much of a role and should understand the issue much better.  Such an approach has a certain logic, since in the proposed negotiations Kerry, Abdullah and Ghani see a potentially new, stronger role for the Wolesi Jirga.  If the body’s shape and powers are to be reworked, shouldn’t they have  a say in the process?

There are two central problems with Continue reading

Kerry’s House of Cards

Today is September 2, the day Karzai set for the inauguration of the new president.  And with no movement in that direction, it seems as if the deal that Kerry made between the candidates is on the verge of collapse.  The LA Times, WSJ and various other sources are reporting that Abdullah is on the verge of pulling out from the process (see here and here), a decision which most are not finding surprising.  The real question is what will the fall out be from the collapsed process?

The most immediate repercussion is Karzai’s decision to Continue reading

Wise words from Ashraf….

“Legitimacy is not a one-time event conferred through an election or the establishment of a charismatic authority but a continuous process of deepening and broadening the rights and obligations of citizenship”

Ok, perhaps, these are wise words are actually 6 years old from Ghani’s Fixing Failed States with Clare Lockhart, but they are some advice that he, Abdullah and the international community should stick to.  The current emphasis of the international community on the counting process and the how many votes are fraudulent  misses many of the ways in which the current, drawn out process is slowly and inevitably delegitimizing whatever the future government of Afghanistan looks like (for more on this from previous elections see this report on ‘legitimacy’ and elections in Afghanistan).

The constant shifting of rules (most recently here) and the negotiations and re-negotiations means Continue reading

Interim Article Author Arrested

As a follow up to this mornings post, at least some in the Afghan government are taking the rumors of an interim government seriously.  Apparently, Matthew Rosenberg, the NYT writer who penned the article, has been told that he is not permitted to leave the country.  No better way to substantiate rumors that the arrest the person spreading them….Write at your own risk it seems now.