Jirga fails to lure candidates into talks
KABUL (Pajhwok): The Council for Understanding or Shura-i-Tafahum, aiming to reduce the number of presidential candidates through consensus, on Wednesday acknowledged its failure to bring the hopefuls together for a discussion, despite efforts spanning three months.
The 14-member jirga, comprising tribal and religious leaders from across the country, has been created by former President Sibghatullah Mujadidi.
The council was brought into being after concerns raised that the so many candidates would divide voters at a time when Afghanistan needs national unity in the wake of foreign troops’ withdrawal by the end of this year.
The council members say reducing the number of presidential candidates would help cut election costs and keep the vote from going to a second round.
However, they admit their failure to bring the candidates together for discussion on important issues of national interest.
Former Wolesi Jirga member, Mueen Marastial, also a member of the council, told Pajhwok Afghan News their efforts at bringing together the 11 presidential candidates for a discussion and knowing about their opinions had failed to yield any satisfactory results.
He said the council was now trying to bring at least five candidates together for a maiden discussion.
“Only five candidates have agreed with us to sit and discuss, but the meeting is yet to be held because one or two of them are reluctant to attend it,” he said.
He said jirga members were convinced no candidate would shun his candidacy in favour of others. “I don’t think any candidate will renounce his candidacy,” Marastial said.
Some analysts believe the elections may go to a second round because none of the candidates seem to attain the magic 50 percent plus one vote margin needed to avoid a runoff.
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