Updated: 08/24/2014 05:39 | By Agence France-Presse

New Afghan president to take office September 2: Karzai

Afghan President Hamid Karzai said Saturday his successor would take office on September 2, despite a slow-moving vote audit designed to eliminate fraudulent ballots cast for the two contenders.


New Afghan president to take office September 2: Karzai

Afghan President Hamid Karzai in Kabul on August 19, 2014 - by Wakil Kohsar

"The Afghan government is totally ready for the inauguration ceremony of the new president on the date of September 2," the presidential palace said in a statement.

The date would not change, according to the statement, which was issued following talks between Karzai and the head of the UN mission in Afghanistan Jan Kubis.

The new president was due to be inaugurated on August 2, in Afghanistan's first democratic transfer of power, but the government has been paralysed for months after the first round of the presidential election failed to produce a clear winner and the second round of voting in June triggered allegations of massive fraud.

As fears grew of a return to civil war, the United States last month brokered an emergency deal designed to end the impasse between poll rivals Ashraf Ghani, a former World Bank economist, and former anti-Taliban fighter Abdullah Abdullah.

But neither candidate appears willing to back down, and the dispute looks set to break out again in the coming days when early results emerge from an anti-fraud audit of all eight million votes.

The audit has checked more than 60 percent of votes, and the next stage of invalidating fraudulent ballots will likely raise tensions between the candidates -- who are also meant to be in talks about a post-election unity government.

The United States had been pushing for the next president to be inaugurated before a NATO summit starting on September 4, which should sign off on follow-up support after the transatlantic alliance's combat mission in Afghanistan ends this year.

The political crisis would worsen sharply if either candidate pulls out of the audit or rejects its outcome, with possible angry street protests in Kabul by aggrieved supporters set to pose a major challenge to the national security forces.

The election deadlock has revived ethnic divisions that lay behind the 1990s civil war in Afghanistan.

Many of Ghani's supporters are Pashtuns in the south and east, while Abdullah's loyalists are Tajiks and other northern groups.

Uncertainty has also shaken the fragile economy, which is dependent on falling aid funding as the 13-year international effort to develop Afghanistan winds down.

Latest Photo Galleries on xinmsn

NEWS VIDEOS

MORE NEWS VIDEOS

facebook recommendations

LIVE NEWS RADIO STREAMING

  • 938 Live

    938LIVE is Singapore's only English news and talk station which transmits round the clock with an engaging and enticing spread of programmes on current affairs, health, business and lifestyle as well as news every half hour until midnight.

  • Capital 958


    95.8FM城市频道的前身是"第三广播网"。上个世纪30年代末,新加坡就有中文广播,一路走来经过不少政治,社会局势的改变,中文广播在本地一直扮演举足轻重的角色。