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Negotiations underway on Qayyum-Rassoul deal

Negotiations underway on Qayyum-Rassoul deal

Feb 23, 2014 - 14:43

KABULinfo-icon (Pajhwok): An ongoing jirgainfo-icon of elders is set to bring about an electoral understanding between presidential runners Dr. Zalmai Rassoul and Abdul Qayyum Karzai, officials said on Sunday.

Any decision of the jirga, expected later in the day, will be acceptable to both sides, Karzai’s campaign office said, adding that 170 elders from the 34 provinces had been authorised to convince one candidate to withdraw in favour of the other.

According to Mahmood Karzai, the jirga members, who also met President Hamid Karzai, have been asked to convince Qayyum Karzai to pull out of the race in Rassoul’s favour.

Mohammad Hamid Saboori, in charge of Karzai’s campaign office, told Pajhwok Afghan News that both sides had assured the jirga of accepting its decision -- a move aimed at reducing the number of presidential hopefuls.

“The real objective is to enable the two candidates to reach an understanding. The elders have been in consultations over the past couple of days, but the outcome is not yet known. A decision is likely by sundown,” he said.

On the other hand, the Independent Election Commission (IECinfo-icon) said candidates were allowed under the relevant rules to withdraw from the electoral fray whenever they wanted. But such a step after the stipulated date (November 11) may create technical problems.

IEC spokesman Noor Mohammad Noor argued the commission had printed ballot papers, with candidate photographs and symbols. Votes cast for a retired contender would be declared invalid, he explained.  



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