Afghanistan Presidency rivals no nearer compromise

Afghan presidential candidate Ashraf Ghani. Picture: Getty
Afghan presidential candidate Ashraf Ghani. Picture: Getty
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AFGHAN presidential candidate Ashraf Ghani ruled out a coalition government with his rival Abdullah Abdullah yesterday, quashing Western hopes for a power-sharing deal to defuse tensions that have threatened to split Afghanistan along ethnic lines.

Ghani and Abdullah have locked horns since the 14 June second round run-off, accusing each other of trying to manipulate the vote and declaring victory in the contest to succeed Hamid Karzai as president.

The protracted dispute over the election has all but destroyed Western hopes for a smooth transition of power.

Abdullah, a former anti-Taleban resistance fighter, draws his support from the Tajik minority in northern Afghanistan, while Ghani, a former World Bank economist, represents the Pashtun majority.

As their standoff intensified, Afghanistan has become awash with speculation about a broader rift along ethnic lines or more violence unless they agree to accept the outcome of the vote or agree on a compromise power-sharing arrangement.