At least 12 out of 18 presidential candidates on Monday unanimously suggested the establishment of a caretaker government in Afghanistan, arguing that the suggestion is the “best option” to protect the country’s political system after May 22 when the tenure of the incumbent government under President Ashraf Ghani and Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah ends.
In a declaration issued on Monday, the candidates said that the continuation of the tenure of the incumbent government after May 22 is illegal and in contravention of the Constitution of Afghanistan.
Based on the declaration, the president and his deputies would lead the caretaker on condition that they refrain from running as candidates in the elections.
But, the Presidential Palace has said that such a government violates the Afghan Constitution and that the incumbent government will continue its work based on the directive of the court.
This comes few weeks after the Supreme Court of Afghanistan approved the extension of Ghani’s tenure until the upcoming presidential elections scheduled for September 28.
“In line with the provision of the law and with the consideration of the situation of the country and based on the jurisprudential rules, the tenure of the president and his deputies is endorsed until the presidential elections,” the Supreme Court said in a directive last month.
“The legal way is that the government transfers its authorities to a caretaker government,” said Presidential candidate Shahab Hakimi.
But some of the presidential candidates at the time described the court’s decision in defiance to the spirit of the law and accused President Ghani of “suppressing” democracy.
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.
“In a real sense, they (government leaders) want to continue this illegal way, hold the authority, run as candidates, amend or interpret the law according to your own desire and then order the Supreme Court, its completely extralegal move,” said Ahmad Wali Massoud, a presidential candidate.
Ghani in many occasions has reiterated that he will not remain in the post even one day after his legal tenure ends.
Chief Executive Abdullah who is also one of the leading candidates in the upcoming elections said the government leaders will not misuse the official resources for their election campaigns.
“Using the government resource for campaign purposes, regarding this issue, our commitment as a citizen of this country or official of the chief executive office is that we will agree on any plan that will put limits on the use of government resources in the campaigns,” said Abdullah.
In response to the declaration, Ghani’s deputy spokesman Shahussain Murtazawi said the presidential candidates have better to go through what the Constitution of Afghanistan really says.
“The council of presidential candidates is recommended to have a precise study of the Constitution,” Murtazawi said in a Facebook post.
“Consulting the Constitution means the first of Jawza (22 May) is the end of the tenure of the national unity government. The national unity government was created in contravention of the law,” presidential candidate Faramarz Tamanna responded to Murtazawi’s post.
The candidates recently said they have prepared an alternative plan based on which someone will fill the gap which will be created from the end of the NUG term on May 22 up to the presidential elections on September 28.