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Political parties, candidates react to presidential vote delay

Political parties, candidates react to presidential vote delay

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On
Nov 19, 2018 - 17:56

KABULinfo-icon (Pajhwok): Some political parties and prospective presidential candidates say delaying the presidential vote would be catastrophic, but others justify the delay if it is for the sake of peace and reconciliation.

Some sources say reports coming from the US regarding a possible delay of April 20 presidential election would not impact contacts and meetings among politicians seeking joint electoral alliances while others believe such reports would have an overall negative impact on the election process.

Zalmay Khalilzad, US envoy for reconciliation, has intensified his efforts for peace in Afghanistaninfo-icon. He traveled to Pakistaninfo-icon, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and held meetings with Talibaninfo-icon and Afghan leaders.

According to a Wall Street Journal report, the Trump administration is discussing whether to press the Afghan government to suspend the presidential election as the US seeks to engage the Taliban in talks to end the 17-year war.

The possibility of such a step, one among several options being considered by US officials, is a sign of urgency the US sees in trying to broker a political breakthrough in a conflict that has bedeviled three successive American presidents.

Abdul Sattar Murad, head of the Jamiat-i-Islamiinfo-icon Afghanistan (JIA), told Pajhwok Afghan News: “These are merely rumors and when something is not officially announced we cannot comment on it. If the delay really happens than all parties would take the decision because the peace process is a national issue.”

He said the JIA would welcome every step for peace and reconciliation in the country. About the impact on joint electoral alliances, if the presidential polls are delayed, he said: “Discussions regarding making of electoral alliances among different parties and individuals are underway and there is no negative impact on them after the US media reports,” he said.

But Mohammad Nader Afghan, senior member of the Hizb-i-Islami Afghanistan (HIA), said a delay in presidential polls would be catastrophic for the country.

He said there was no need to delay the presidential polls because the peace process could be normally concluded as there were still five months remaining in the presidential elections.

Ahmad Walli Massoud, head of the Wafaq-i-Milli and a would-be presidential candidate, said: “Delay in presidential elections for peace talks or for the establishment of an interim government will be catastrophic. This policy is not going to work and would damage the achievements of the past one and a half decades.”

He said elements who wanted to renounce violence and reconcile they could join the government after the elections. He said his party would soon enter the presidential elections and would field a candidate.

“If the presidential election is delayed and the Taliban did not reconcile, then challenges for the elections will be more complex and the country would face crisis,” he said.

But Waheedullah Ghazikhel, senior member of the Afghanistan New National Front executive board, said: “We support all efforts for peace and reconciliation, if the elections are delayed for the sake of peace, we will welcome the move but if peace does not come then there is no need to put off the elections.”

Zabihullah Saadat, deputy spokesman of the Independent Election Commission (IECinfo-icon), rejected any delay in the presidential poll and said the election body was ready and all preparations had been completed for the April 20 elections.

nh/ma

 

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