Afghan prez rivals Abdullah Abdullah, Ashraf Ghani sign Unity Govt deal, live on TV

Afghan-prez-rivals-Abdullah-AbdullahIn a much-awaited end to the impasse of Afghanistan presidential election results, the rival presidential candidates signed the crucial power-sharing deal to form a national unity government, with Abdullah Abdullah ceding the presidency to Ashraf Ghani and himself nominating the “Chief executive officer”.

The signing of the key deal which ended the months of deadlock was broadcast live on national television.

The deal is set to end the weeks of political deadlock after both the candidates claimed victory in the June 14 presidential run-off election, accusing each other of manipulating the results by fraud.

Both the candidates are set to sign the deal on the structure of National Unity Government on Sunday, informed the spokesperson to the outgoing President Hamid Karzai, Aimal Faizi, in a tweet.

Under the power-sharing deal, Dr Abdullah has agreed to cede the presidency to Ashraf Ghani and will nominate or himself be the chief executive officer, who will have powers of a Prime Minister.

According to a New York Times report, Mr. Abdullah had agreed to the power-sharing deal as early as last week, but he said he would sign it only if the results of the vote audit, were not released, as they were “so tainted by fraud that they should never be made public”.

However, the final result of the presidential election would be declared, said Independent Election Commission spokesman Noor Mohammad Noor said.
Months of dispute over the election results had threatened to pull the country back into the unsteady times and emboldened Taliban, that attempted to cash in on the political uncertainty by launching attacks and raids.

The new government faces a tough task ahead as the US troops are set to withdraw by the end of the year, leaving the security’s onus on Afghan forces.

One of the foremost tasks on the new government’s shoulder is to sign the Bilateral security Agreement (BSA) with the US, which will allow some US troops to stay back in Afghanistan to train the security forces as the foreign troops are set to withdraw by the end of this year.

The BSA deal, which is also necessary for the continued flow of aid to the cash-strapped war torn country, was refused by the incumbent President Hamid Karzai. However, both Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah had during their campaigning, promised to sign the deal.