Presidential Candidates Suggested Election Delay To UN: Hakimi

Representatives of the presidential candidates’ council who held talks with Tadamichi Yamamoto, the head of the UN mission in Afghanistan, this week, said they have suggested that the presidential elections should be held after a peace deal with the Taliban, one participant of the meeting and a presidential candidate Mohammad Shahab Hakimi said on Saturday.

The presidential elections are scheduled for September 28 – after two times delay. Last week, the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that he hopes there is a peace deal ahead of the polls.

The presidential candidates’ council, which represents 13 out of 18 presidential hopefuls, also suggested that the country should be governed by a caretaker administration until the upcoming elections, Hakimi told TOLOnews.

Hakimi said that some ambassadors of other countries were also present at the meeting which was held on Friday, June 28.

“The general view is that first, there should be peace, and then the elections should be held. In that case, we will be able to have a partial peace at least after the elections,” Hakimi said. “According to my information, he [the UNAMA Chief Tadamichi Yamamoto] said that we must have elections [first] but the representatives of the presidential candidates’ council told him that peace is prior to elections and peace is the facilitator of fair and acceptable elections.”

Another presidential candidate, Shaida Mohammad Abdali, said it will be good if there is an agreement on peace and then elections are held.

“I have always said that there should be guarantees if we want to consider another option. Considering the current situation, an election in which all the people of Afghanistan will be able to attend is not possible. Therefore, it is good that the peace process will yield a result and then the elections are held,” Abdali told TOLOnews.

Members of the presidential candidates’ council have already opposed the continuation of President Ghani’s term, and have proposed, at many occasions, the establishment of “caretaker administration”.

“I believe that the priority of the United States will be implemented. The elections will be postponed if peace is the US’s priority,” said Abdul Rauf Inami, an MP.

Meanwhile, a senior member of the Independent Election Commission said that holding the elections on September 28 is a red line for them.

“We are working based on election law. Our path is implementing the election law which we will follow it and will hold the elections on sixth of Meezan [September 28]. This is a red line for us,” said Habib-Ur-Rahman Nang, head of the secretariat of the Independent Election Commission.

Last week, a number of presidential candidates at a big gathering in Kabul warned to boycott the elections if the “required reforms” are not brought to the electoral institutions.

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