Afghanistan’s June 14th run-off Presidential election between one-time foreign minister Abdullah Abdullah and former finance minister and World Bank economist Ashraf Ghani has not yet produced a clear winner. Under the supervision of the United Nations, an audit of all 8.1 million ballots commenced in mid-July.
This audit is part of a July 12 agreement between the candidates that also outlines the framework for a government of national unity following the outcome of the audit. After meetings with Secretary Kerry and the Independent Election Commission on August 8, the two candidates signed a joint declaration that outlines the way forward.
The two candidates agreed to assign a joint commission comprised of members of both teams to finalize a timeline for the electoral process and to agree on the date for the inauguration of the new president, with the goal of doing so by the end of August.
The joint commission will also draw up the detailed text of the political agreement in light of the constitution and the July 12 political framework agreement.
The two candidates announced elements of this agreement at a press conference with Secretary of State John Kerry.
“The agreement is a critical opportunity for both candidates to . . . . move beyond the campaign and into the process of governing,” said Secretary of State Kerry:
“Both candidates have defined a road to a unity government, and they will begin now to meet together and to map out that transition ahead.
I don’t think anybody here would doubt that this is a major step for the road ahead for Afghanistan. It is coming almost singularly because both of these candidates are transforming themselves now into the statesmen that will be required to be the president of the country. And they are both focused on Afghanistan, not on themselves. Their supporters, who are passionate in support of their candidate, as they should be, are shifting their focus to the future and to Afghanistan.”
“I’m here to support [both candidates] and to commend them on their leadership, on their initiative to be able to come together and work through some of these difficult issues,” said Secretary Kerry. “And it’s been our privilege to be able to facilitate, but this is really an Afghan solution to an Afghan problem. And that’s very important for the road ahead.”