Bahman Takween

National Unity Government or Simply a Power Sharing Complex

26.07.2014

“National unity government”

Or simply a bitter confection of power-sharing!

 

When the shouting on Afghanistan election frauds reached to the years of the Obama administration; it is said that Obama himself called Karzai on the spot and demanded explanation. Karzai overconfidently claimed that everything is under his “control”. He assured Obama that there are some noises from the losing candidates, and everything will be cooled down!  Some days passed, but the evidence of fraud and theft spoke more than simple ‘’noises of a losing candidate’’. Sound and video clips as evidences vividly showed the organized fraudulence, in which high officials of the IEC[i] seemed to be involved. People went to the streets, violently protesting to put on trial those accused of the organized election crimes. But the Karzai administration kept quiet. They just watched the situation which was not “under control” anymore.

The IEC could not find any response to the evidence of the immense fraud and finally managed to convince Mr. Ziaul Haq Amarkhail The secretary of Afghanistan's Independent Election Commission to resign (as per the primary demands of Dr. Abdullah - the presidential candidate). Mr. Amarkhail resigned but tried to leave the country that made the head of the IEC Mr.Nooristani annoyed as he blamed Amarkhail of escaping the country or being blamed for wrong doings. However, this did not rest the tide and the people who were angry about the mismanagements of the IEC and their shameful frauds, did not stop their protests across the country and abroad.

The IEC took another step to conceal its weakening position against the political pressure endured by people, candidates and the UN. Nevertheless, they finally decided to announce the primary results of the election and showed Dr. Ashraf Ghani receiving about 56% of the votes as the winner of the runoff. Dr. Abdullah who was already demanding the transparency of the votes casted and asked for the delay in the announcement, claimed that 2 million of the votes cast for his rival are fake. He officially withdrew from the vote-counting process, demanding stricter auditing of potentially suspicious votes.[ii]

However, Dr. Ghani's team defended their superiority by claiming that “they mobilized clerics, provided transport for would-be voters and persuaded many men from his own Pashtun ethnic group to break with conservative tradition and let their wives, sisters and daughters cast ballots for the first time.”[iii] On the other hand, many independent observers believe that the fraud has been extraordinary and it’s done mostly in Mr. Ghani’s favor. For example, one of these reports clarifies: “More than 500,000 votes came from districts with more votes than people and 1.85 million votes came from districts where more than 60% of the population voted… To calculate voter turnout, we assumed that vote totals above 60% of the district population represented 100% turnout and scaled accordingly…These cases suggest instances where vote totals are either being estimated or made up.”[iv]

In spite of serious warnings of Dr. Abdullah’s camp and obvious evidence of IEC’s wrongdoings, it seemed that the Karzai administration had kept quiet or were planning for next steps to deteriorate the situation further. According to New York Times ‘as Western officials scrambled to respond, what was not being said aloud was that the Abdullah camp’s threats had already gone beyond talk to a plan of action. Some of Mr. Abdullah’s backers were preparing to take over the centers of government in at least three provinces, and on his word to march on and occupy the presidential palace, according to several of his supporters and former government officials.’[v] Finally, The Obama administration, decided to send his secretary of state John Kerry to deal with the crumbling situation.

On 13th of July when John Kerry arrived in Kabul he started painstaking talks with both of the candidates. After three long days of discussion behind the close doors, finally both candidates and Mr. Kerry appeared in front of media and announced their agreement of 100% audit of votes. However, what Mr. Kerry and both candidates mentioned in their admissive speeches was a new term in Afghanistan’s political terminology: The government of National unity!

Nobody had spoken about such a government and later on, no details were also given on the term. But what was obvious from that, it was for-sure a political settlement to end the election tension regardless about the electoral rules and regulations. Nevertheless, as we deeply look at this “government of national unity” we would reach to the simple conclusion of another power-sharing mechanism and a continuous policy of the ‘Republicans’ and Karzai’s “national reconciliation” since the Bonn conference in 2001. Based on this policy the power is shared among the tribal leaders and so-called influential political figures that have had a role in 35 years of war-politics in Afghanistan.

However, another important question here is about the results of these allots? a decision will be made based on ballot boxes or simply a power sharing bitter confection is prepared to puts Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai on top and make Dr. Abdullah the “chief executive” of his government or vice versa? (So that he become prime minister after the amendments made in the constitution afterwards)  

On this, many believe that the Americans weigh the power be in Ghani’s hand, as the ‘time’ writes: “The plan also called for a power-sharing arrangement that would give Abdullah an important role in the new Afghan government, potentially as a kind of deputy national leader. (The details have yet to be finalized and officials called reports of a European-style parliamentary system premature.)”[vi]

The Americans may have this plan in hand. And they may force Dr. Abdullah for final compromises, but that will be a big blow for democracy and people’s choice for free and fair elections. However, people will not simply buy this plot and will show consistent political resistance. Hence, any plan that undermines the true choice of people for selecting their political leadership will reach nowhere as the Karzai’s “national reconciliation” brought nothing but further splits among the various levels of society based on tribal and ethnic lines.



[i] Independent Election Commission (in Afghanistan)

[iii] Ibid

[iv] Drew Bollinger & Ian Schuler, What Happened in the Afghanistan Elections? http://developmentseed.org/afghanistan-2014-analysis/

[v] http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/15/world/asia/anxious-moments-for-an-afghanistan-on-the-brink.html?_r=1

[vi] http://time.com/3001703/kerry-afghanistan-civil-war/





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