Efforts for Ending the Election Stalemate
As the two election camps are once again in loggerheads over the terms of the unity government and the chief executive’s power in the next government, there are ever increasing efforts to meditate between the two sides. The two candidates have agreed formation of a joint committee to consider the power and authority of the chief executive in the new unity government. Regarding the role of the international community over the dispute, the United States has sent its special envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan to Kabul in an effort to get the two candidates commit to the agreement they made at the beginning of the month mediated by US Secretary of State John Kerry. Meanwhile, British Prime Minister David Cameron also called on Afghan election candidates to resolve the disputes and reach an agreement based on the previously-reached deal.
Despite that the representatives of both candidates were withdrawn from the vote audit on Thursday, but the IEC confirmed that the process continued without them and under UN observers’ supervision. The ongoing vote audit is the most comprehensive audit of election votes undertaken by the United Nations. It is set to the produce a decided result and the winner of the presidential race until next two weeks. While President Hamid Karzai had initially set 2nd September as the deadline for transfer of power to the next president, the UN now says is not possible until one or two more weeks to complete the vote audit process. The fact that the two candidates does not fiercely object to the ongoing vote audit process is sign of their tacit agreement with the process even that their representatives are not present at the site.
The repeated interruptions of the audit are perhaps a sign that president Hamid Karzai does not have much control over the process. President Karzai insisted earlier that his successor must be inaugurated by September 2nd, in time to travel to a NATO summit in Wales two days later. However, now it is clear that the inauguration is not possible at that date and the process would not be completed by then. In contrast, the international community, particularly the United States and the British government wield much influence over the ongoing process. The reason for this is that the process of vote audit is now entirely in foreigners’ control in Kabul. This is an opportunity for Afghans to be assisted by the foreign observers and avoid creating further messes.
The increasing pressures from the international community provides a chance for the election stakeholders to haggle over their conditions and, in the meantime, stick to their commitment for forming a unity government as agreed earlier in the month. The newly agreed joint committee for assessing powers and authority of the chief executive role in the future government must be sought by both the candidates as an outlet for going out of the dispute over the vote audit so the political path yield results for ending the election stalemate.