Addressing an 8th of Saur ceremony the president also called on parliament not to interfere in elections.
Ghani Vows Presidential Elections Will Be Held Within A Year
Speaking at the 26th anniversary of Mujahideen Victory in Kabul on Saturday Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said that elections must be transparent and fair.
Ghani said the presidential elections will be held before Jawza 1398 – May 2019.
“Mr (IEC Chief Abdul Badi) Sayyad and his colleagues will announce the (presidential election) date but it will be before Jawza 1398 (May 2019). I don’t want it to remain at this position even one day without people’s will,” he said.
“Elections must be transparent and fair. I make a commitment that the government does not interfere in the elections, but I ask that the House of Representatives do not interfere too,” Ghani said.
Ghani also said that he does not have any intention to stay in power once his term of office has ended.
“The presidential elections will be held in accordance with the constitution. I do not want to stay one day in this position without the will of the nation,” Ghani added.
Ghani said that five years of elections will be counted based on the constitution, not on the day he took an oath of allegiance.
Ghani also said elections was the only way to resolve the crisis and that security at polling stations was government’s top priority.
Also addressing the ceremony was Abdul Rauf Ibrahimi, Speaker of the Lower House who expressed hope of a high turnout on election day and urged the National Unity Government (NUG) to ensure transparency at upcoming parliamentary and district council elections.
Senate Chairman Fazal Hadi Muslimyar also spoke and urged the nation to take part in the elections.
In addition, Ghani said that the nation has consensus on peace, and all Afghanistan’s neighbors must know the country cannot be divide.
“All Afghans need to be an ambassador for peace and peace is not only government's job, but it is the work of the nation,” Ghani said.
He said: “We want peace and we have the will to bring peace too, and if my life is sacrificed I am ready for it.”
Meanwhile, the Afghan president criticized the Taliban’s spring operation and called it baseless.
“Taliban started their war under the name of “Khandaq”, does the Taliban really know the meaning of Khandaq? This is a war against the Islamic government of Afghanistan,” Ghani said.
Ghani also said that all Taliban do not want to fight, but that it’s the minority of Taliban that have forced the majority of Taliban to fight.
In response to the Taliban's distrust over government's ability to negotiate and achieve national reconciliation, he said: "If there was no political will, would (Gulbuddin) Hekmatyar be in Kabul today?"
“We want peace and we have a strong will for peace, the peace process will continue until we reach peace,” Ghani said.
“If you (Taliban) want war, then you must know that our nation stands in front of you,” Ghani said to the Taliban.
During the anniversary Ghani praised and thanked security forces for their sacrifices.
“I am proud of my security and defense forces,” Ghani said.
In conclusion Ghani said that Afghanistan is an economically dependent country.