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Editorial: Avoid recipe for further divide!

The political, or rather the presidential wrangling in Afghanistan has overshadowed many other national issues facing the country. It’s been six months since the presidential polls last year but the electoral commission-endorsed President Ashraf Ghani and self-proclaimed president of ‘inclusive government’ Dr. Abdullah Abdullah have locked horns over the mantle of the presidency. A solution to the current feud and political deadlock is in the best interest of the country against the backdrop of COVID-19 pandemic and the peace negotiations with the Taliban. Nevertheless, the solution has to be unanimous, one that is acceptable to all political parties and Afghan masses. An unofficial draft of a possible deal between Ghani and Abdullah circulating in media outlines their power-sharing mechanism. Although the document isn’t officially endorsed, its content contains some of the worst-feared matters and signals the replication of the National Unity Government (NUG)’s governance model. Based on the likely power-sharing agreement, the Partnership and Stability electoral ticket is supposed to receive the decision-making authority concerning 50 percent of governmental positions and the Chairman of Supreme National Reconciliation Council – Dr. Abdullah – would be regarded as someone second-in-command in the country after the president and thus enjoy relevant protocol accordingly at official ceremonies and occasions. The potential deal also highlights that a commission would be established for amendments to the Constitution. The upshot of such a deal putting an end to the political impasse is that the NUG will be repeated once again but under a different name – that of compromise – something which has been frowned upon so far. Meanwhile, judging from the text of the agreement, it seems the government has been shared among only two sides while the rest of political parties and elite are overlooked. Interestingly, at a time when a power-sharing idea isn’t fully substantiated, the Hezb-i-Islami Afghanistan (HIA) has already hit out at the US for trying once again to broker a power-sharing deal between Abdullah and Ghani. So, if a power-sharing arrangement is the solution at the hour and is something that could unite the country, the Afghan masses have no other choice but to consent. Especially under current circumstances, given the insistent push by the US and the international community which lend weight to ‘inclusive government’ and are willing to repeat the past fiascoes despite their non-stop criticism of NUG’s failures over the years. Thus, if there is to be a joint company (or coalition government) while flying in the facing of people’s votes and electoral legitimacy, other political parties and figures should also be taken into consideration. It’s because, with the precedent of power-sharing mechanism between Ghani and Abdullah before them, they would also come to the fore and announce they are dead-set against any power-sharing unless they are part of it. Therefore, endeavors by parties taking exception to such a power-sharing deal could be a thorn in the government’s side and would be a recipe for further divide and not unification amidst the current unstable situation in the country.

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