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Qayum, Rassoul Push Alliance to the Brink: Aides

Qayum, Rassoul Push Alliance to the Brink

KABUL – The final result of ongoing negotiations between presidential candidates Abdul Qayum Karzai and Zalmai Rassoul to join forces is expected to be announced tomorrow, an aide to the President Karzai’s older brother said on Wednesday. Dr. Habibi, who campaigns for Qayum, confirmed to Pajhwok the negotiations were ongoing between their leader and Rassoul, a former foreign minister. He said the final decision on making an alliance between the two was expected to be announced on Thursday.

Meanwhile, a spokesman for Rassoul, Ajmal Balochzada, told Pajhwok Afghan News the negotiations were yet to be finalised. Earlier in the day, Reuters news agency said Qayum was preparing to withdraw from the presidential elections quoting Rassoul as saying during an interview.

Rassoul told the agency they were planning an alliance and would join forces soon. “We are in discussions about how we can join together, we have not reached yet a final result, but it is on the way,” Rassoul said on the sidelines of a debate. “Our negotiation is not finalized … but you will know very soon.”

With just one month to go until the vote on April 5, just three candidates appeared for Tuesday’s televised debate on foreign policy, broadcast by Afghanistan’s most popular channel. The main opposition candidate, Abdullah Abdullah said he was not concerned about rivals joining forces. “I also hear that there are negotiations between the candidates…. I am not concerned at all,” Abdullah said on the sidelines of the debate. “I think the more they get together, the happier I will be; it will be a more clear-cut campaign.”

Last week, a number of tribal elders from southern provinces arrived in Kabul to choose one between Rassoul and Qayum Karzai. Most of the tribal elders were reported in support of Qayum to continue as presidential candidate. Presidential spokesman Aimal Faizi said in a statement President Karzai had urged his elder brother to withdraw in favour of Rassoul. (Pajhwok)

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