New Afghan president to take office September 2: Karzai

By AFP
Published: August 24, 2014
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The date would not change, according to the statement, which was issued following talks between Karzai and the head of the UN mission in Afghanistan Jan Kubis.
PHOTO: AFP

The date would not change, according to the statement, which was issued following talks between Karzai and the head of the UN mission in Afghanistan Jan Kubis. PHOTO: AFP

KABUL: Afghan President Hamid Karzai said Saturday his successor would take office on September 2, despite a slow-moving vote audit designed to eliminate fraudulent ballots cast for the two contenders.

“The Afghan government is totally ready for the inauguration ceremony of the new president on the date of September 2,” the presidential palace said in a statement.

The date would not change, according to the statement, which was issued following talks between Karzai and the head of the UN mission in Afghanistan Jan Kubis.

The new president was due to be inaugurated on August 2, in Afghanistan’s first democratic transfer of power, but the government has been paralysed for months after the first round of the presidential election failed to produce a clear winner and the second round of voting in June triggered allegations of massive fraud.

As fears grew of a return to civil war, the United States last month brokered an emergency deal designed to end the impasse between poll rivals Ashraf Ghani, a former World Bank economist, and former anti-Taliban fighter Abdullah Abdullah.

But neither candidate appears willing to back down, and the dispute looks set to break out again in the coming days when early results emerge from an anti-fraud audit of all eight million votes.

The audit has checked more than 60% of votes, and the next stage of invalidating fraudulent ballots will likely raise tensions between the candidates — who are also meant to be in talks about a post-election unity government.

The United States had been pushing for the next president to be inaugurated before a Nato summit starting on September 4, which should sign off on follow-up support after the transatlantic alliance’s combat mission in Afghanistan ends this year.

The political crisis would worsen sharply if either candidate pulls out of the audit or rejects its outcome, with possible angry street protests in Kabul by aggrieved supporters set to pose a major challenge to the national security forces.

The election deadlock has revived ethnic divisions that lay behind the 1990s civil war in Afghanistan.

Many of Ghani’s supporters are Pashtuns in the south and east, while Abdullah’s loyalists are Tajiks and other northern groups.

Uncertainty has also shaken the fragile economy, which is dependent on falling aid funding as the 13-year international effort to develop Afghanistan winds down.

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Reader Comments (5)

  • Amin Zamani
    Aug 24, 2014 - 3:12PM

    Contrary to Pakistani political pundits expectations and biased prediction Dr Ghani a renowned economist will take charge in Afghanistan. It is high time Pakistani media and intellectual side with the common man in Afghanistan and create an atmosphere of trust and cooperation. We as Afghan simply want to get our due respect from our Pakistani brothers and want to start mutually beneficial relationship. First step would be for Pakistan to not wish Afghanistan what it doesn’t wish for itself, i.e Taliban.

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  • Aug 24, 2014 - 5:49PM

    Double Abdullah need to go. Leave. Travel. Dubai. Abu Dhabi. Qatar.

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  • objective observer
    Aug 25, 2014 - 5:38AM

    @Amin Zamani:
    Your pleasant words fall on deaf ears with these people.

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  • mohammadnoonnanna
    Aug 25, 2014 - 10:57AM

    @objective observer: We are a nation which welcome a countless refugee from Afghanistan only out of brotherhood which has cost us heavily and Karazai like people who we fed by us and later turned foe.
    @Amin Zamani: We are bearing the brunt of your anti-Soviet war. Then comes the Taliban syndrome created by the Americans. After that fragments of Taliban, Alqaeda become monter with the help of Karzai, Double Abdullah and such other pro-India Afghan politicians who allowed a huge chain of Diplomatic missions along Pak-Afghan border to continue a stir in Pakistan through their stooges in the name of Baloch movement, Taliban etc etc. So like you, we Pakistanis also owe a peaceful co-existence wish.

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  • Serhat Yousafzai
    Aug 25, 2014 - 1:42PM

    Amin Zamani – We have hosted over 10 million registered and countless unregistered Afghan refugees for the last three decades. No other country in the history of the world has done this. We welcome a stable Afghanistan where these families can go back. The first step lies in YOUR country’s court i.e get the atmosphere right so they can move back. looking forward to strong Afghanistan and Pakistan ties. Dair Manana.

    Objective Observer – Please keep your feeble and uneducated comments to yourself.

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