Afghanistan’s political crisis following the presidential elections has deepened with both incumbent Ashraf Ghani and ex-chief executive Abdullah Abdullah declaring themselves as President on their official Twitter account. The Independent Election Commission (IEC) had declared Ghani as the winner in the presidential polls but Abdullah rejected the results calling it voter fraud.
According to the IEC, Ghani secured 50.64 per cent of the total votes polled, estimated as more than 1.8 million, and Abdullah got 39.52 per cent of the votes. Abdullah refused to accept the result and claimed of establishing an “inclusive government” which has caused immense worry for an already fragile democracy.
On March 9, Ghani and Abdullah held parallel inaugurations in Kabul after reconciliatory talks fell through. Kabul’s security was heightened after the marathon talks to prevent the formation of two clashing governments failed and Abdullah decided to hold a parallel oath ceremony.
Abdullah was reportedly offered a power-sharing deal with 40 per cent seats in the cabinet and a role for overseeing peace negotiations with the Taliban. However, the former chief executive rejected the deal and demanded the top job.
Taking to Twitter, Abdullah later said that he took the oath of office as President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan on the basis of people’s “clean votes”. The 59-year-old Afghan politician said that he is determined to form an “inclusive government” soon.
No one should have underestimated our commitment to genuine democracy & our resolve to uphold rule of law. Our track record of self-denial & compromise should not have given cause to anyone to take us for granted. Invalidation of all fraudulent votes is the way out! pic.twitter.com/FbEXLyljUy— Dr. Abdullah Abdullah (@DrabdullahCE) March 9, 2020
Abdullah’s separate claim to power has created a fear of the Taliban gaining ground in a political vacuum, especially when the US forces have signed a deal to withdraw gradually. The Taliban has already ended the partial truce with the Afghan government which helped reduce violence in the region.
The Taliban has also denounced the results calling the election “fake and staged”. Zabihullah Mujahid, a spokesperson of the Taliban, said in a statement that it rejects the “meaningless appointment” and considers it a failed effort at “throwing dust” in the eyes of the nation.