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Editorial: Avoid recipe for division!

Former CEO Abdullah Abdullah notifies about progress in the political negotiations with President Ashraf Ghani to form a joint government. A draft of his final plan of power-sharing with Ghani received by this paper entails the establishment of a so-called Executive Prime Minister slot with a peace-centered mandate. With immense pressures from the international community regarding forming an inclusive government, the feuding Afghan leaders have seemingly caved in. Based on the final plan, the mechanism under which these leaders are supposed to reportedly come together includes a 50 percent power-split in the cabinet, as well as central and provincial governments. Moreover, there is a provision regarding the appointment of governors and police commanders in the provinces where each of the squabbling leaders happens to secure the majority of votes. The potential power-sharing agreement also includes a case for new provinces and overhaul of the electoral system – shift to the multi-dimensional representation (MDR) system as opposed to the currently-practiced Single Non-Transferable Vote (SNTV) one. Considering the urgent matters of COVID-19 and peace process with the Taliban, it is without a doubt that Afghanistan is in dire need of a unified and authoritative government to deal with these issues – political stability for which is a sine qua non. Since the twin presidents’ quarrel, a cloud of uncertainty and gloom has spread across the country. Now that the future dispensation has turned into a global issue of concern – as the international community is pressing these leaders to form an inclusive government – it is without a doubt that another national unity government (NUG) is inevitable with a different name this time around. As previously mentioned in these columns, the foreseeable coming together of these leaders to form a government for the next five years should be one that doesn’t lead to segregation and further divisions among Afghans. Afghan people have experienced the bitter recriminations among the same feuding leaders in their past term – something that would incite their respective followers. Therefore, the mediating parties – comprised of both local elders and international partners – should see to it that the terms put forth in the potential power – sharing schemes by the sides aren’t conducive for the same fiascoes of the past. For example, the idea of appointing governors and police commanders just to satisfy the leaders’ respective constituencies separately is an utter recipe for division. Moreover, the provision of dividing the existing provinces into further small provinces also heralds the division of Afghans over multiple ethnic, zonal and lingual lines. Similarly, the gradual change into a parliamentary system (with executive power mostly vested with Prime Minister) from the current presidential one proposed by the plan is also not feasible in Afghanistan.

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