Afghan presidential rivals discuss future government

Discussions focus on resolving vote recount dispute.

Afghan presidential rivals discuss future government

World Bulletin/News Desk

Afghanistan's two presidential candidates have met for the first time under a US-mediated deal to agree on a recount of votes and to move towards forming a government of national unity in Kabul.

Abdullah Abdullah visited Ashraf Ghani at his residence in the Afghan capital on Tuesday, but details were kept secret from the media.

Ashraf Ghani's spokesman said the meeting was "held in a positive environment", without further explanation.

Ghani - the front runner with more than 56 percent of the votes, according to preliminary results - has previously said he would discuss the structure and formation of national unity government with Abdullah.

Abdullah was leading Ghani in the first round of voting, but garnered just 42.5 percent of the votes in the final round, according to the preliminary results, which he has rejected.

Abdullah's spokesman has confirmed that both the leaders would meet again on Thursday to further discuss the situation.

President Hamid Karzai has delayed the oath-taking of the new president until the result of the audit process has been released.

Many people in Afghanistan, however, fear the election crisis is not over.

Presidential deal

A spokesman for Ashraf Ghani said on Monday that if his side won the elections, they would create a new post of chief executive and hand it to Zia Masood, an ethnic Tajik and brother of slain Afghan leader Ahmad Shah Masood.

Observers said that giving the important seat to Masood (an ally of Ghani) was aimed at accommodating Tajik nationals in a future national unity government.

However, Abdullah's spokesman has suggested that the winning presidential candidate would hand over the executive government seat to the losing one as part of a "coalition government" deal, which he said was agreed in front of US Foreign Secretary John Kerry.

Last Mod: 16 Temmuz 2014, 10:53
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