President Ashraf Ghani’s rival candidates on Tuesday once again challenged the legitimacy of the incumbent government and reiterated the call for the establishment of an interim government in the country so that the upcoming elections are held in a free and transparent way.
Ghani’s election rivals who now operate within the structure of the Council of Presidential Candidates staged a big gathering in Kabul on Tuesday where they described Ghani as a “tyrant and egoist leader” and a “violator” of the law.
Presidential candidate Mohammad Haneef Atmar, who addressed a big crowd at a sports stadium in Kabul, the incumbent government hinders the way for peace and is spreading discord among the people of Afghanistan.
“This government is illegitimate, its oppressor and corrupt. If the illegitimate tenure of this government continues, this will put the peace process and elections in perils and will further increase discord in the country,” said Atmar. “Just two days ago, they announced the allocation of 400 million Afghanis to celebrate the 100th independence day. It is not legitimate because it was not included in the budget,” said Atmar.
“The president [Ghani] is the most ‘selfish’ man who has no respect to any ethnicity in Afghanistan,” said Ibrahim Alokozai, a presidential candidate.
“The council of presidential candidates has decided to crush any elections if this corrupt and illegitimate government remains in power,” said Shahab Hakimi, a presidential candidate.
The candidates alleged that the Presidential Palace is misusing official resources for its election campaign.
The candidates also criticized Ghani’s planned trip to Pakistan where he is expected to hold talks with the officials in Islamabad on peace in Afghanistan.
“You should not play with peace and the lives of the people of Afghanistan. However, some of our statesmen and personalities are trying to play with it today here and there, particularly those countries whom we have tested like Pakistan which has been in enmity with Afghanistan and the regional countries from the day God created it,” said Noor-ul-Haq Ulomi, a presidential candidate.
The Presidential Palace rejected the allegations as baseless and instead accused Ghani’s rivals of violating the law by organizing election campaign ahead of the timeline.
“Such gatherings can be evaluated as an early election campaign. We request the relevant bodies to take notice of those campaigns and gatherings which can be seen as the election campaign,” a presidential spokesman Shahussain Murtazawi said.
This comes after in April, the Supreme Court of Afghanistan approved the extension of Ghani’s tenure until the upcoming presidential elections scheduled for September 28.
Based on Article 61 of the Constitution, the legal tenure of the National Unity Government under President Ashraf Ghani and Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah ends on May 22. Previously, presidential elections were scheduled to be held on April 20 but the elections were delayed two times.
The presidential elections are scheduled to be held on September 28 after two times delay while it had to be held in April based on a previous schedule.
The candidates suggest a caretaker government which according to them will prevent the power gap.