Election Alliances in Disarray
As the candidate registration process is going on, many stakeholders are making their last-ditch efforts to make deals with prominent political figures for nominating consensus candidates in the elections. Interestingly, as the affairs related to the elections is developing, many of the formerly announced elections alliances are teetering at the brink of collapse, as the members are in fierce disagreements over who will run for the president and his vice presidents. So far, only one presidential candidate has formally registered to the Independent Election Commission to run for president. Many of the potential candidates probably will wait until later dates and will register in the last weeks of the registration period. Despite that the potential candidates have not registered yet, there are plenty of rumors about the possible candidates for the elections.
According to reports, Mahmood Karzai, a brother to President Karzai, has announced that, Qayoum Karzai, another brother of his would run in the elections and will soon register with the Independent Election Commission. However, it is not clear yet whether president will formally support his brother in the elections, but it seems that the government block is far from being able to unite in support of one single candidate, and President Karzia’s inner circle of power is eroding as they are failing to come up with a single candidate for the elections. The government officials have said that the president will not endorse any candidate publicly and will remain impartial in the elections.
However, it was believed that the president will tacitly support Foreign Minister Zalmay Rasoul. With Qayoum Karzai entering in the election contest, it is increasingly turning vogue whether which one of the two will have support of the president. President Karzai’s support to any candidate has been considered as considerably determining to the outcome of the elections. Now everyone is waiting to see who he will support in the contest that will choose his successor.
Other than Qayoum Karzai, the election contenders who have confirmed their intentions for running in the elections are former foreign minister Abdullah Abdullah and former finance Minister Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai. Officials of the Afghanistan National Alliance (ANA), has confirmed that Mohammad Mohaqqiq, an MP, is going to run along with Abdullah for vice president, and has tendered his resignation from the parliament. As Abdullah has confirmed his candidacy, now there are reports of serious differences among the Afghanistan Electoral Alliance (AEA) members over the nomination of Abdullah and Mohaqqiq in the forthcoming elections. It is believed that Ahmad Zia Massoud and Abdul Rashid Dostum, tow prominent members of the Alliance, are negotiating with other parties including the government bloc for agreeing on a consensus candidate.
The developments are suggesting that both opposition and government camps are in disarray. Ashraf Ghani and Qayoum Karzai’s intention to run in the elections is a serious blow to government bloc’s consensus-building efforts to come up with nomination of Foreign Minister Zalmay Rassoul. Another scenario could be a surprising last-minute shift from president Karzai and the government bloc in support of Qayoum Karzai. The chance exists that Ahmad Zia Massoud would be nominated as vice president with Qayoum Karzia running for presidency.