- Afghan president-elect says his focus will be on merit in every sector of govt
- Says he is committed to ensuring that women are well represented in govt as well as education and economic sectors
Afghanistan’s president-elect promised to end political strife and corruption in a speech on Monday, his first since signing a power-sharing agreement with his rival aimed at bringing months of turmoil to a close.
“Afghanistan’s stability is most important for us,” former finance minister Ashraf Ghani said in his address at the presidential palace in Kabul. “Let’s build up this nation and put the past behind us.”
Ghani was named president-elect on Sunday after he signed a US-brokered deal to share power with his opponent, former foreign minister Abdullah Abdullah.
Abdullah had complained of mass vote-rigging in June’s run-off ballot, and the rivalry threatened to destabilise the country just as most foreign troops prepare to leave.
Under the terms of the unity deal, Ghani will share power with a chief executive proposed by Abdullah. The two will share control over who leads key institutions such as the army and other executive decisions.
Ghani’s administration must now forge a government after much acrimony as well as deal with an emboldened Taliban insurgency.
A senior US official said that Ghani and Abdullah, both pro-Western technocrats with similar political platforms, would be able to come together for the sake of the country despite the bitterness of the last three months.
Ghani is expected to be sworn in as president on Sept. 29, according to a senior official. The new chief executive is expected to be inaugurated at the same time.
“Our focus will be on merit in every sector of the government, and there will be no place for nepotism,” Ghani said in his speech. “It will be a government of transparency, accountability and taking responsibility.”
One of Ghani’s first acts is likely to be to sign a long-delayed security agreement with the United States. He has previously declared support for the pact to allow a small force of foreign troops to remain in Afghanistan after 2014.
Many people in Kabul fear instability could be exploited by the Taliban, who have made significant gains in the south and east, taking advantage of gaps in US air support during this summer’s fighting season.
A US official in Kabul said the deal to end the election dispute was far from ideal, but preferable to many alternatives that could pose a greater threat to stability.
MORE WOMEN REPRESENTATION:
Ghani also said he wants Afghan women are represented at the highest levels of government, which includes the Supreme Court.
Ghani said that he is committed to ensuring that women are well represented in the government as well as the education and economic sectors.
Ghani Ahmadzai also said Afghans should remember that poverty, lack of education, income equality and insecurity are the country’s enemies, and not their fellow citizens. “This victory isn’t just about winning an election. It’s a victory for democracy, for our constitution and for our future,” Ghani said: “Together, we have turned the page and written a new chapter in our long and proud history, the first peaceful democratic transition between one elected president and another.”