Friday, August 12, 2016

Afghan Chief Executive Abdullah Denounces President Ghani as Unfit for Office

KABUL, Afghanistan — The fragile Afghan power-sharing arrangement brokered by the United States sustained a serious blow on Thursday, when the government’s chief executive, Abdullah Abdullah, angrily denounced his governing partner, President Ashraf Ghani, as unfit to govern.

Mr. Abdullah, addressing a group of young people in his office garden, said he had struggled to achieve much progress with Mr. Ghani during the two years of their government on the issue of electoral reform, one of his conditions for the power-sharing agreement that was brokered by Secretary of State John Kerry after the disastrous election dispute in 2014.

The agreement, which prevented a clash that could have torn the country apart, made Mr. Ghani president and Mr. Abdullah chief executive and gave him equal say in government appointments.

Mr. Abdullah, on Thursday, accused Mr. Ghani of making decisions unilaterally and of failing to consult with him on appointments. He also said he had made little progress with Mr. Ghani on election reform, which had been one of his conditions for agreeing to the power sharing arrangement.

“Over a period of three months you don’t have time to see your chief executive one-on-one for even an hour or two?’’ he said, addressing Mr. Ghani. “What does your highness spend your time on?’’

“There are arguments in any government,’’ he added, “but if someone does not have the patience for discussion, then they are not fit for the presidency, either.’’

Under the agreement worked out by Mr. Kerry, the government is supposed to hold parliamentary elections and enact sweeping electoral changes by the end of September, a deadline that is not expected to be met. Political opposition groups are mounting pressure over the failure to hold parliamentary elections, with some even demanding a grand council of elders from around the country to decide on the government’s legitimacy.

A spokesman for Mr. Ghani declined to comment on Mr. Abdullah’s remarks.

Some analysts said, however, that Mr. Abdullah had become isolated not only from the government, but also from his own constituency. They viewed his outburst as a desperate bid to regain support. Many analysts said they were surprised by the bluntness of his comments, particularly at a time when the Taliban appeared to be making significant inroads. Mr. Abdullah himself said that the government had been unable to recover the bodies of soldiers who had been under siege for seven days.

Haroun Mir, a political analyst in Kabul, said that much of Mr. Abdullah’s support during the messy 2014 elections had come from Jamiat, one of the country’s largest parties with a strong base in the North. Party leaders were disappointed when Mr. Abdullah agreed to the power-sharing deal with Mr. Ghani. More recently, they have criticized him increasingly for failing to challenge Mr. Ghani on various matters.

“Jamiat sees Abdullah as their candidate, and now they are saying he can’t represent us,” said Mr. Mir, who suggested that it might be too late for Mr. Abdullah to regain the party’s support. Mr. Abdullah’s comments surely will not help soothe his uneasy partnership with Mr. Ghani. - Read More, NYTimes

Afghan Chief Executive Abdullah Denounces President Ghani as Unfit for Office

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