As expected, the presidential candidates on Sunday signed a long-awaited deal on forming a government national unity, ending several weeks of intense negotiations and uncertainty.
Representatives of both contenders confirmed signing the agreement on the formation of the new government, paving the way for the announcement of the long-delayed election results.
In line with the accord, former World Bank economist Dr. Ashraf Ghani will take over as president and Dr. Abdullah Abdullah will be given the chief executive position -- a slot specially created to end the political impasse.
The deadlock surfaced after the June run-off election that Ashraf Ghani won by a huge margin. But his rival alleged industrial-scale fraud in the polls, refusing to accept the result. The standoff raised questions about the country’s future.
Subsequently, US Secretary of State brokered a deal between the feuding presidential runners, who vowed to accept the result of a comprehensive audit of all eight million votes.
Faizullah Zaki, a member of Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai’s camp, told Pajhwok Afghan News the presidential hopefuls had agreed on the shape of the new agreement during a meeting at the Presidential Palace.
The agreement was signed in the presence of President Hamid Karzai, noted jihadi leaders, tribal elders and public representatives at the heavily-fortified Presidential Palace.
Under the deal, the next president would be committed to holding a Loya Jirga on an amendment to the constitution and creation of the chief executive post.
Both runners would have an equal share in appoints to key positions in security, economic, intelligence and other independent departments. Senior provincial and judicial officials will be appointed based on merit.
For the sake of democracy, the runner-up will be introduced as the opposition leader, whose role and responsibilities will be explained in a presidential decree.
Brining reforms to the election commission is another key feature of the agreement. The commission would be fundamentally changed for ensuring credible future elections.
The new government will have a cabinet, including the CEO and two deputies, chaired by the president who will take strategic decisions. Day-to-day affairs will be handled by a new Council of Ministers, chaired by the CEO.
Appointments further down will be equitably shared - so there will not be a one-for-one handout of jobs.