Afghan polls: Kerry plays mediator to end impasse

kerry-afghanAmid the growing political turmoil over contested results in Afghan presidential elections, US Secretary of State John Kerry has separately met both presidential candidates, Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah, and stressed that the next government should unify the Afghan people and seek to lead them into a better future.
“We want to see a unified, stable, democratic Afghanistan.  It is important that whoever is president it recognised by the people as having become president through a legitimate process,” the US’ top diplomat said.

The preliminary results of the June 14 run-off elections, released on July 7, declared Ashraf Ghani as leading the polls. His rival, Abdullah Abdullah, has refused to accept the result, citing alleged fraud and called it a “coup against the people.”

Abdullah has been very vocal about the alleged fraud, ballot stuffing and vote rigging in the run-off elections. Recently, he released records of a telephone conversation in which Ziaulhaq Amarkhil, the country’s chief election officer, was heard encouraging election officials to support Ghani. While the authenticity of the recordings has not been verified, the video forced Amarkhil to resign.

Mr. Kerry, however, was quick to reiterate that the election results, showing Ghani in the lead, was merely “preliminary” and could change. “They are neither authoritative nor final, and no-one should be stating victory at this point”, he cautioned.

“We want to see a unified, stable, democratic Afghanistan.  It is important that whoever is president it recognised by the people as having become president through a legitimate process,” the US’ top diplomat said.

As NATO combat troops prepare to leave Afghanistan later in 2014, it is imperative that Kabul has a stable government to tackle the challenges posed by insurgency and a fragile, aid-dependent economy.

 

 

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