Newspapers are reporting a U.S.-mediated agreement to solve the election crisis in Afghanistan. In the critical detail, both sides have agreed to abide by results, following an internationally-supervised audit.
Secretary of state John Kerry said on Saturday both of Afghanistan's presidential candidates were committed to abiding by the results of the "largest, most comprehensive audit" of the election runoff ballots possible.Audit details have been a key point in negotiations. The U.N. had issued a specific proposal, which was rejected by the Abdullah campaign as insufficient.
Kerry stood with the two candidates who are disputing the results of Afghanistan's presidential election. He announced that finance minister Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai and former foreign minister Abdullah Abdullah had agreed to abide by a 100%, internationally supervised audit of all ballots in the presidential election in Kabul.
Both candidates have agreed to a national unity government.
Mr. Abdullah’s campaign said it had already made clear to United Nations officials that the plan was not acceptable during discussions on Thursday about possible ways out of the crisis. A senior aide to Mr. Abdullah said the campaign had its own plan, which would entail audits of votes from about 11,000 of the roughly 22,000 polling stations.Under today's agreement, all voting will be audited.
U.N. Proposal Fails to Ease Crisis Over Disputed Afghan Election, New York Times
"Both candidates have committed to participate in and abide by the results of the largest and most comprehensive audit. Every single ballot that was cast will be audited," Kerry told a joint news conference with both candidates, held just before midnight after talks dragged for two days.
"This is the strongest possible signal by both candidates of the desire to restore legitimacy to the process."
Complete Recount in Afghanistan Presidential Election, Reuters
If the deal holds, it helps avoid such things as
Former Finance Minister Ashraf Ghani emerged as the apparent winner, with 56.4% of the vote, in preliminary results from a June 14 runoff. Former Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah rejected the results, charging widespread fraud, and declared himself the victor.
Followers of Mr. Abdullah have called for him to set up a "parallel government," raising fears of a return to civil war. President Barack Obama has urged Mr. Abdullah to wait for an investigation of ballot-stuffing allegations.
Kerry in Afghanistan to Try to Broker Election-Audit Deal, Wall Street Journal
The prospect of Mr. Abdullah, who has the support of many powerful former warlords, attempting to seize power added a new layer of peril to the crisis. It raised the possibility of Afghanistan’s still fragile government and security forces fracturing, possibly along regional and ethnic lines, just as American-led combat forces are preparing to withdraw.
Kerry Pushes for Solution to Afghanistan Election Crisis, New York Times
Kerry announced the brokered deal amid fears the country could descend into chaotic bloodshed.civil war.