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Foreign mediators seek to settle Afghan electoral impasse

Amid lingering delay in announcement of presidential results, foreign government officials intervene to defuse tension
Foreign mediators seek to settle Afghan electoral impasse
As Afghans gravely grappled with the fallouts of troubled presidential polls, foreign government officials have stepped-up efforts for an eventual settlement of the electoral impasse.
Weeks since the Sep. 28 election, the evidently overstretched election commission is yet to deliver preliminary results as candidates flex muscles amid the exchange of bitter allegations of fraud, irregularities and abuse of power.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo -- Kabul’s biggest financial and military backer -- on Monday phoned presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah – the power-sharing Chief Executive to incumbent President Ashraf Ghani.
According to the U.S. State Department, Pompeo underscored U.S. support for Afghanistan’s democracy and the importance of a transparent electoral process leading to a “credible outcome”.
Abdullah’s Stability and Partnership electoral team has been on an agitation campaign, blaming Ghani’s State Builder team of electoral fraud.
Demanding the Commission to annul at least 300,000 alleged fraudulent votes, the two-time runner-up in 2009 and 2014 presidential elections has even threatened not to accept the results.
In a Twitter post, Abdullah said: “@SecPompeo & @DrabdullahCE had a productive exchange of views during a phone conversation today [Nov. 2].
Both sides discussed the significance of @POTUS 's (President Trump) recent Thanksgiving visit to Bagram Air Base, and other issues relating to the #Afghanistan peace process & presidential elections.”
Abdullah’s protest drive is more evident in northern provinces of the country, where his teammate and Vice President Abdul Rashid Dostum has mobilized thousands of his Junbish Party supporters to take to the streets.
On Monday, Dostum received Gen. Scott Miller, the top U.S. military commander in Afghanistan, flanked by the Afghan Defense Minister Gen. Asadullah Khalid on an unannounced trip to his hometown of Sheberghan.
In a brief chat with the local media after the meeting, Dostum urged the election commission to announce the results without any further delay, a clear change of tone from his previous stand of agitation against the electoral commission.
Immature Democracy
Reading between the lines, Kabul-based political analyst Akram Arifi, told media the U.S. simply want this lingering electoral crisis to be resolved and the results to be accepted.
“The Afghans have once again proved that they are not mature enough to ensure the transfer of power through dialogue and vote and they continue to seek power either through force or through foreign mediation,” Arifi said.
Following similar troubled polls when the country was pushed to the edge of disorder amid the withdrawal of some 100,000 foreign troops, a weak and divided National Unity Government was formed in 2014 when then U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry intervened.
On Tuesday, Nancy Izzo Jackson, the deputy assistant secretary for Afghanistan in the Bureau of South and Central Asia Affairs of the U.S, met Abdullah in the capital Kabul.
On the same day, Abdullah hosted German Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer at his office.
In a joint news conference with Ghani, the German defense minister called for the announcement of election results. She stressed the presidential candidates and politicians must accept the results.
Zabihullah Sadat, an election commission spokesman, told us that talks are successfully advancing with the electoral teams for the completion of vote recount process.
The election commission was supposed to announce on Nov. 7 the final results of the polls in which a total of 13 candidates vied for the top seat, but it has yet to announce preliminary results.
The commission is recounting the votes in a total of 8,255 disputed polling stations across the country.

Wednesday 4 December 2019 23:40
Story Code: 197220 Copy text available
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