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Hamid Karzai steps in to intercede as dispute over election is spiraling out of control

Karzai Suggests Continuation of National Unity Govt

AT News

KABUL: Since a few days, former president Hamid Karzai and jihadi leader Abdulrab Rasoul Sayyaf have stepped in to intercede in the election dispute between Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah, as tensions risk ratcheting up into deeper political divide and casting shadow on impending talks with the Taliban.

Karzai and Sayyaf met with Ghani and Abdullah on Monday and discussed several issues. Hamid Karzai has asked both Ghani and Abdullah to continue their national unity government, according to Karzai’s media aide, Mohammad Yusuf Saha. “His stance is that Ashraf Ghani stays as the president, and continue the national unity government, and focus on peace efforts,” he said.

Notwithstanding the intercession efforts, the chief executive office says its stance will never change, insisting that “a person elected by people will be the president”.

This is as the United States has asked the president to postpone his planned swearing in ceremony, worried ongoing election wrangling could spill into peace efforts. This is as a government official in condition on anonymity said that preparations for president Ghani’s inauguration ceremony are in full swing.

Abdullah proclaimed himself president after electoral commission gave the lead to the incumbent President Ghani and announced him the winner of September vote after a painstaking months-long audit and recount of hundreds of thousands of ballots in the wake of widespread allegations of ballot stuffing and fraud.

Supporters of Abdullah have also called for the results of the country’s presidential election to be annulled because of widespread vote rigging.

This bedlam has prompted the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan to bristle. The mission has said that it is ‘extremely concerned by the ongoing attempts to replace government officials’. “Resorting to force or any other unlawful means at the very time that efforts are ongoing to realize a reduction in violence – with the expectation that it can lead to the start of an intra-Afghan negotiation on peace – jeopardizes the population’s hope for peace,” it said.

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