Afghanistan Decides, sort of
After a power-sharing agreement reached Saturday between the leading rivals in Afghanistan's April presidential election, Kabul made it official on Sunday: "The Independent Election Commission of Afghanistan declares Dr. Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai as the president of Afghanistan," commission chief Ahmad Yousuf Nuristani said. Ghani is expected to be sworn in on Sept. 29, replacing President Hamid Karzai.
A former finance minister, Ghani (on the right below) beat out former foreign minister Abdullah Abudllah (left), but we won't know by how many votes right away. Abdullah insisted that the vote tally not be made public, reportedly because he was far behind in the official tally. Abdullah said the fraud-tainted June run-off election was rigged in Ghani's favor. Nuristani said the vote tallies will be released at some point.
Under the power-sharing agreement signed Sunday, Ghani, an ethnic Pashtun, will have joint responsibility for some key institutions, notably the military, with a chief executive chosen by Abdullah, who is backed by the Tajiks. Abdullah himself is widely expected to fill the newly created chief executive position, which is expected to be similar to a prime minister role. The power-sharing structure was proposed by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, who applauded the newly announced government.