Afghanistan's new president-elect says he wants Afghan women represented at the highest levels of government, including on the Supreme Court.
Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai planned to hold his first news conference later Monday after being announced by the country's election commission Sunday as president. His opponent for president, Abdullah Abdullah, will fill the newly created role of chief executive in a national unity government.
Ghani Ahmadzai said in a statement that he is committed to ensuring that women are well represented in government and 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."
The announcement by the election commission that Ghani Ahmadzai had won the nearly six-month election process came only hours after he and Abdullah signed a power-sharing deal following weeks of negotiations.
The deal allowed the international community — including the U.S. and NATO — to breathe a sigh of relief, as the settlement greatly decreases the chances of ethnic vote violence. Ghani Ahmadzai has also pledged to sign a security agreement that would allow about 10,000 U.S. military trainers and advisers to remain in the country next year after all U.S. and NATO combat troops withdraw.
To the annoyance of many Afghans, the election commission did not officially release vote totals of the June runoff — ballots that underwent a long audit for fraud — when it announced Ghani Ahmadzai as the winner. Leaked results showed Ghani Ahmadzai took about 55 per cent and Abdullah roughly 45 per cent of the vote.
One of Abdullah's final demands in talks with Ghani Ahmadzai was that the election commission not release the vote count because of the fraud he alleges took place.
The four-page power sharing contract says the relationship between president and chief executive — a position akin to prime minister — must be defined by "partnership, collegiality, collaboration, and, most importantly, responsibility to the people of Afghanistan."
The deal specifies that the president leads the Cabinet but that the chief executive manages the Cabinet's implementation of government policies. The chief executive will also chair regular meetings of a council of ministers, essentially the same Cabinet group but designed to manage implementation.
The 13-year war against the Taliban has largely been turned over to Afghan security forces, a development that has seen casualties among Afghan soldiers rise significantly this year.