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Ghani Casts Doubt On Afghan Power-Sharing Deal

Afghanistan's presidential candidate Ashraf Ghani (left) with his rival Abdullah Abdullah
Afghanistan's presidential candidate Ashraf Ghani (left) with his rival Abdullah Abdullah

Afghan presidential candidate Ashraf Ghani has cast fresh doubt over a power-sharing deal with his rival, Abdullah Abdullah, saying the accord is ambiguous and needs clarification.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry pushed both candidates last week to sign the power-sharing deal, no matter who is shown as the presidential election winner after an audit of all 8.1 million ballots that were tallied from the June runoff.

The deal calls for the runner-up to be named to a new, specially created post called "chief executive" and share control with the president over some key decisions, like nominating the heads of the Afghan National Army and the Afghan intelligence agency.

Speaking to a group of foreign reporters at his Kabul headquarters on August 12, Ghani said: "Dual authority is not possible," adding, "The position of the chief executive will solely depend on the discretion of the president."

Ghani also said that the framework agreement brokered by Kerry had been written in English and was "not a document prepared for signing," adding that he would "not sign a document in English on Afghan soil."

Ghani said that "instead of getting into verbal disputes," the power-sharing deal was "one of the key areas that our teams are working on and they will spell out the details."

But Ghani stressed that "everything begins and ends with the constitution" of Afghanistan and that the details of any power-sharing deal must be spelled out clearly in the coming weeks "to avoid misunderstanding."

Abdullah won a clear victory in the first round vote in April but failed to win more than 50 percent of the vote needed to win the presidency outright and avoid a runoff vote.

A preliminary tally showed Ghani won the June runoff, but the count was marred by allegations of massive fraud -- raising tensions between the rival camps of both candidates and raising concerns about the potential for a civil war in Afghanistan along ethnic lines.

With reporting by Reuters and "The Washington Post"