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 →
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 Wall Street Journal’s article today highlights what they point to as growing support for Karzai remaining on in some role in perhaps an interim government position (see full article here). On one level this is a sad turn, since, as we argued in earlier pieces, much of the initial turn out of voters was in support of moving past the Karzai era (see the full report). What this demonstrates is how far the process has descended and how much distrust there is now between the candidates, but also between the voters and the two main candidates. We heard a lot of voters in the lead up to the elections basically voice their support for “anyone who is not Karzai”. Evidence of this was found in Zelmai Rassoul, supposedly Karzai’s favored candidates, abysmal showing (11%), which eliminated him from contention (though there are questions of course about Karzai’s lukewarm support of Rassoul and whether he is still simply playing a longer game). If Karzai is regaining popular support, Continue reading →
As negotiations start and stop and the Afghan economy continues to decay, there’s not much happening other than talk in the media. So to keep everyone updated on what’s being said, here’s some choice excerpts:
Tolo photo of Karzai opening the new guesthouse
Ahsraf on the current state of negotiations: “We must come together and continue political talks. Afghanistan is the home of all of us; therefore, we need an inclusive national unity government…Our people have always been united. Our enemies should know that we are still united, despite all our political differences,” he asserted. “No one can divide this nation…We supported the 100 percent vote auditing to protect the genuine votes of the people. Therefore, the election commissions must announce the final results in the next few days and rid the nation of the uncertainty that lingers over the country.” (see Tolo)
More from Ghani: “We stood, stand and will stand firm on the formation of the national unity government from the beginning…but it shouldn’t be a two-headed government.” (from Reuters)
Abdullah’s spokesperson, Fazlur Rehman Orya responds: “The problem is the Ashraf Ghani team is trying to impose bogus votes on us. We will not accept them; only clean votes…I would point out one major difference; Ghani favours peace talks with the Taliban and Abdullah does not support any such move.” (see The Express Tribune)
Karzai on the candidates: “We want a new government and that can be brought to us by Dr. Abdullah Abdullah and Dr. Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai.” (see CNN)
Karzai on inaugurating the new presidential guesthouse: “This beautiful building was constructed in accordance with Continue reading →
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?
Further complicating the timing issues for the presidential inuguaration discussed in yesterday’s post, the UN announced today that they plan on finishing the audit on September 10. This is 8 days after Karzai’s announced inauguration date and 6 days after the NATO conference in Wales. Difficult to envision how this will work out without some sort of deal or crisis…For more see the VOA article here.
Stories that the palace is currently in decoration mode for the inauguration scheduled for Sept 2 (see RFL here) are pushing the electoral process to a tipping point. With both candidates having withdrawn from the auditing process (see the WSJ here), it seems ridiculous to think that the process may be done by Sept 1 and frankly bordering on inconceivable that it will be done in a manner that both candidates accept. We’ve discussed this foot dragging and the benefits of instability for the political elite before and an Economist editorial today echoes many of the sentiments we’ve been pushing over the past month (see in particular here and here and here). The editorial begins “It seems everyone wants the Afghan presidential election to be over and done with. Except, maybe, for the two contenders.” (read the rest here)