KABUL: Former CEO Abdullah Abdullah informs of progress in political negotiations with President Ashraf Ghani and says there has been agreement in principle as talks are underway to finalize the details of a power-sharing agreement between the two sides.
The final version of Abduallah’s plan to reach a political agreement with President Ghani demands that a so-called slot of Executive Prime Minister (EPM) for peace-centered affairs be established with special conditions and powers. Abdullah’s plan also requires a 50 percent split of the central and provincial governance with Ghani.
This comes as tensions remain high on political level following the controversial announcement of presidential election results in February – which announced Ghani as the winner – and parallel presidential inaugurations by both Ghani and Abdullah.
Reacting to the tensions, Washington announced in March that it is cutting $1 billion in aid to Afghanistan, warning that a further reduction of $1 billion would follow if the tensions are not resolved.
Since the past few weeks when Ghani offered the role of the chairman of potential Supreme National Reconciliation Council to Abdullah who would enjoy the protocol of a vice president, political leaders are striving to mediate between the feuding leaders aimed at ending the political deadlock and forming an inclusive government.
Abdullah who claims victory and is now running a parallel government had earlier rejected the offer by the president and informed of sharing his own scheme with Ghani. Abdullah has devised a plan titled ‘Framework of Political Agreement.” Its final draft has been received by Afghanistan Times. This draft has been put together by Abdullah and it’s not known yet whether Ghani would accept it. Some of the key highlights of the framework are outlined as follows:
Realizing that this situation is not in the best interests of the country and the people of Afghanistan and in order to overcome the impasse and create a government based on political agreement, the following provisions are presented as a reasonable political agreement.
- The Supreme Council of State/Supreme Leadership Council
• To create political consensus, the Supreme Council of State is to be formed comprised of political leaders and national figures
• This council advises the president and the leadership of the government on national issues, Afghanistan’s relations with the rest of the world, the consolidation of national unity, the realization of social justice and the structural reforms of the state
• Members of this council are included in the specific government protocol and are facilitated with the necessary security measures
- Peace-oriented Executive Prime Minsister (EPM) position
- Recognition and creation
• The EPM for peace position is created based on political agreement
• This slot is officially recognized following the agreement signed by the leaders of both sides
• This ruling also applies to the deputies of the Prime Minister’s position (vice president in Abdullah’s ticket)
• The office of EPM is Sapaidar Palace
• The special representative of the leader of the Stability and Partnership team is to be appointed as the special representative of the EPM with focus on peace
The peace-oriented EPM has the following powers:
• Leading all matters related to the national peace process
• Chairing the meetings of Supreme Council of State and of the Supreme National Reconciliation Council
• Convening cabinet meetings on matters related to the peace process
• Determining and appointing all relevant executive and administrative officials and employees, including the State Ministry for Peace (SMP)
• Establishing national, regional and international consensus on peace
• Attracting international assistance for proper advancement of peace affairs
• Drawing international development aid to rebuild the country in post-peace period
• The EPM, in terms of protocol, security and formalities, ranks as second-in-command in the country
• EPM’s deputies are the same as the vice-presidents in terms of protocol, security and formalities
• The Special Representative of the EPM for peace enjoys the same protocol, security and formalities as the Special Representative of the President
- The budget
• EPM office is an independent budgetary unit
• This office’s budget is funded by the Afghan government
• The EPM can also receive funding from international aid agencies
• The EPM has full authority in terms of expending the budget
- Organizational structure
The EPM office for peace has the following structure:
• Supreme Council of State (consisting of senior political leaders and national figures)
• Supreme National Reconciliation Council (consisting of a number of members of the National Assembly, representatives of political parties and civil society)
• State Ministry for Peace functioning as secretariat
• Taliban negotiating team
• Other necessary arrangements
- Establishment of the Supreme Council of State
• The Supreme Council of State is formed in consultation with other political parties, including political leaders and national figures
• Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, as EPM for Peace-centered affairs, serves as the Chairman of the Supreme Leadership Council by chairing its meetings and leading all matters of the peace process
• One of the Vice Presidents is a member of the Supreme Leadership Council on behalf of the President
- Authorities of the Supreme Leadership Council (SLC)
• The SLC determines, approves, and guides all content and executive matters related to the peace process
• Decisions and approvals of the this council are made based on the votes of the majority of the members of the council
• Decisions and endorsements of this council are final and must be implemented
• The negotiating team, being under the direct direction of this council, is required to report to the council and its chairman
• Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, as the Chairman of SLC, in consultation with the political leaders, civil society and the Speakers of the National Assembly, forms the Supreme National Reconciliation Council
• The President may convene consultative meetings of the SLC
• If consultative meetings are convened, the President and the EPM for peace-centered affairs shall jointly chair the meetings
The members of the High Council of the Supreme Court shall be appointed in consultation with both parties and in accordance with the provisions of the law and the principle of balance.
- Central offices
- Lt. Gen. Abdul Rashid Dostum, the former vice president, is to be nominated by the leader of the Stability and Partnership team as Deputy Chief of Staff, and will be promoted to marshal by a presidential decree
- Fifty percent of ministers, directors, deputies, and ambassadors, including security agencies and key civilian ministries, are supposed to be nominated by EPM for peace
- The Attorney General and deputies of the Attorney General’s Office are also part of this 50% power-split.
- Of the four key security officials (National Security Adviser, Ministers of Defense and Interior and Director General of National Directorate of Security), two shall be nominated by the EPM for peace.
- Recognition of the competence and legal status of individuals nominated by the Stability and Partnership Team to high government positions is within the authority of the leader of this team.
- Relocation and dismissal of officials nominated by the EPM is done only with the consent of the nominator.
- In case of dismissal or change of officials nominated by the EPM, their replacement will also be introduced by EPM.
- In the composition of the National Security Council, a balance is observed between the two teams.
- Local offices
- Provincial governors, based on the respective percentage of votes, are nominated by each party with the highest number of votes received in a province
- The conditions for the introduction, dismissal and change of governors nominated by EPM are subject to the conditions for the introduction, dismissal and change of officials of the central offices, which are described in the section on central offices
- Police commanders and heads of national security in the provinces and senior army commanders are appointed on the basis of ethnic balance and in consultation with both sides
- Fundamental reforms
• Elections of provincial and district councils are to be held as soon as possible to complete the elements of the Loya Jirga
• Municipal elections are held at the earliest opportunity to enforce the provisions of the law and improve urban affairs
• The Constitutional Amendment Board, no later than one year after the agreement, shall be formed in accordance with Article 150 of the Constitution and its chairman shall be nominated by the EPM for peace
• A Loya Jirga for constitutional amendment is to be convened to change the political system after the district council election is conducted
• Electoral reforms, including legal, technical, and personnel reforms, shall take six months to complete. Correction and improvement of the use of biometric system considering the previous experiences are part of these reforms
• The Electoral Code should be amended to change the electoral system and implement multi-dimensional representation (MDR) system within three months of signing the agreement
• The amendment to the Law on Political Parties will be adopted during this same period
• In order to create administrative facilities, according to the demand of the people, new provinces, including in the central, northern and other areas of the country where there is a demand of the people and urgent necessity, will be considered within three months.
• Kankor (entrance exam) quotas are canceled.
- Monitoring and implementation mechanism
• In the agreement, a mediator board is authorized to prevent violation of the agreement
• Representatives of the United Nations and other international bodies are also requested to monitor the proper implementation of the political agreement in cooperation with the mediating delegation
• A joint technical team is set up by both teams to identify breaches of agreement
• The Technical Team shall try to prevent the breach of the agreement through cooperation; in case the joint technical team’s efforts are unsuccessful, the representative of the party which is harmed by the violation will formally refer the matter to the mediation board.
- Validity period
The validity of the political agreement is until the end of the term of government.”