Kerry rules out parliamentary system in Afghanistan
KABUL (Pajhwok): US Secretary of State John Kerry has said it was not for outsiders to describe the contents of the political framework both Afghan presidential candidates accepted a few days ago.
“It does not violate the Afghan constitution – it respects Afghan institutions. It does not establish a parliamentary system – it creates a new position of chief executive who will report to the president until the president convenes a Loya Jirga to determine whether a permanent change is in the best interests of the country,” Kerry wrote in his latest op-ed, a copy of which is sent to Pajhwok Afghan News by the US Embassy in Kabul.
Kerry, who landed in New Delhi on Wednesday for talks with Indian officials on strategic relations, wrote: “What the agreement does provide is a critical opportunity for both candidates to move beyond political competition to real statesmanship. It is a chance for them to work together to build an inclusive government that represents all sectors of Afghan society – Pashtuns, Tajiks, Uzbeks and Hazaras, men and women.”
He said democracy was an evolutionary process and every democracy reached a decisive moment where the interests of the country outweighed the interests of politicians.
“Afghanistan is at that critical point today. Its leaders cannot afford to miss the chance to help bring their people the better lives they deserve and demand. And that is a challenge for two statesmen who both love Afghanistan.”
“Again and again, through all my visits to your country, I've been struck by one profound fact: Afghans want and deserve a better future. You want to live without fear, to have the best possible education for your children, health care systems that provide dignity and the jobs and other opportunities that come with a stable economy.”
He praised President Hamid Karzai for leading Afghanistan for more than a decade through triumph and tragedy. “I've worked closely with him, and I know that one of his lasting legacies will be how Afghanistan makes its first democratic, peaceful transfer of power.”
Kerry wrote Afghans took an enormous step on the road toward a stronger democracy in April and June when millions of people went to the polls to choose the country’s next president.
“Every vote was a courageous endorsement of democracy, and an expression of hope for the future.”
The United States, the United Nations and the international community were engaged in the post-election process solely to help the Afghan election institutions restore credibility to the voting, he said.
“Experts tell me that the audit under way in Kabul is the largest and most complicated election audit ever undertaken anywhere. Few countries could meet this challenge alone.”
He continued specialists from the UN were working side by side with their Afghan colleagues to ensure that the audit met the laws of Afghanistan, the highest international standards and, most importantly, the expectations of Afghans.
“The process, which has been painstaking and slow, will accelerate with the end of Eid al-Fitr. But democracy can’t be rushed and every legitimate vote deserves to be counted and respected.”
He said the Afghan Independent Election Commission, the UN and dozens of international observers were working night and day to conclude the audit.
“The audit is only one part of the challenge confronting democracy in Afghanistan today. Equally important are the actions of the two candidates, Dr. Ashraf Ghani and Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, and their political teams.”
On July 12, he recalled, the two candidates shook hands and agreed to respect the results of the audit. They also agreed to build a unity government that will lead Afghanistan to a better future.
He said the political agreement responded to a challenging situation that required cooperation between the two leaders and their broad range of supporters.
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