Kerry Mediation for Resolving the Election Crisis
By: Abdul Maruf Ghiasee
The flurry of diplomatic efforts for resolving the election crisis in Afghanistan culminated as US Secretary of State John Kerry visited Kabul and the UN envoy to Afghanistan submitted his plan for auditing votes from thousands of polling stations. During his stay in Kabul, Mr. Kerry met President Hamid Karzai and the two presidential candidates. During the meeting, the reports say, President Karzai has told Kerry he would accept any solution sought thorough Afghan legal institutions with the candidate’s agreement. On other hand, the UN special representative to Afghanistan submitted his plan to the electoral bodies and the two candidates. Reports suggest that his proposal comprises audit and recount of the 8,000 ballot boxes while Abdullah does not seem to have agreed with the UN over the recount of the votes.
On Friday, jubilant moods were seen in photographs of Kerry’s meeting with the two candidates. As these days, every signs of progress spark hopes among the citizens, the visibly positive environment was seen as a sign of progress by many who are closely monitoring the situation. The details of the meetings are not published yet; however, it seems Mr. Kerry is trying to explore a way for recount of the votes to be acceptable for both the candidates. As the US and the UN both are now engaged in talks with the election stakeholders, there are visible differences in the ways the UN and the US pursues for resolving the crisis.
While the US is stressing that all reasonable complaints of any candidate should completely considered, whether by the UN or without it, the UN seems to have agreed with President Karzai that all efforts should be led by the two election bodies. On the other hand, the US is seemingly trying to find a safe passage of Afghanistan from the crisis as it is encouraging the candidates to make political deals. Prior to John Kerry’s visit to Kabul, US special envoy to Afghanistan tacitly proposed a coalition setup as the solution for leading the country out of the crisis. The international mediation would be much more effective if the US and the United Nations had a unified stance over how to deal with the election crisis. The difference in approach of the United Nations and the US government makes the situation even more complicated.
President Karzai’s stance as quoted from him that he would accept solutions through Afghanistan’s electoral institutions suggests that he is not prepared for giving a role the United States to propose solutions that might bypass the two election commissions. President Karzai’s insistence on the role of the IEC and the ECC conveys the message to Abdullah’s team that he is doing everything he can to block any effort for bypassing the IEC which is viewed as partial by Abdullah’s camp. It is very necessary at this stage of negotiations that a coherent external pressure be exerted on the two candidates and President Karzai’s government to reach a political consensus over vote recount or building a coalition government.
Abdul Maruf ‘Ghiasee’ is Editor In Chief Of The Afghanistan Express, social and Peace activist .