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Qanuni’s Succession as Vice President

Karzai Nominates Qanuni for Replacement of

President Hamid Karzai introduced Mohammad Younus Qanuni, a former speaker of the parliament, as successor of late former Vice President Qasim Fahim who passed away recently. According to the reports, Qanuni’s succession as the Vice President has been decided after extensive deliberations and negotiations between Karzai and Mujahedin and political figures, particularly members of Jamiat-e Islami to which Mr. Fahim belonged. Seemingly, Qanuni is endorsed by ethnic Tajik leaders who are prominent opposition figures. According to the officials, Qanuni’s nomination as the vice president has been formally referred to the Loya Jirga which is expected to vote on Qanuni’s nomination in the coming days. Younus Qanuni’s succession to the vice presidency is coming at an important when the country is going to the upcoming presidential election.

Younus Qanuni was one of the key players of the Bonn Conference which founded the current political establishment and agreed on transfer of power to Hamid Karzai as interim leader. Qanuni has been credited for his role in the Bonn Conference which helped Afghan factions reach an agreement on transfer of power and establishment of new post-Taliban government. Also during past twelve years, Qanuni held key government positions and later served as the speaker of the parliament. He is known as soft, persuasive and skilled politician with high resiliency in making political dealings and negotiations. Death of former vice president Qasim Fahim was viewed by many as Afghanistan losing a potential power broker in times of crises.

However, now with introduction of Qanuni as the successor of Fahim is a positive sign for the array of political forces of Afghanistan during and after the elections which will help the election stakeholders to better make negotiations and possibly resolve conflicts. Qanuni is now expected to play an important role in the upcoming elections, though he is backing Abdullah Abdullah’s candidacy for presidency. Given that Mr. Qanuni is remaining an influential figure of Jamiat and has served in high positions in the past, he will be able to play a key role in maintaining a political consensus among the government camp and the opposition during and after the election.

The parliament is expected to vote on his nomination soon. Mr. Qanuni will most likely obtain votes of confidence from the lawmakers as he is perceived the right person for the key post at this critical time of transition. His current political stance in support the opposition candidate Abdullah Abdullah, on one hand, puts him in the exact position to play a role in the event of any possible political crisis, and on the other hand, may put him at odds with President Hamid Karzai. This is because the President himself is believed to tacitly back another candidate who will compete with Abdullah Abdullah. Overall, Qanuni’s succession as vice president will help the election process and the Afghan elites to sustain a political consensus over national issues.

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