KABUL): The creation of a 14-party grand electoral alliance, which pledged fielding a consensus candidate for next year’s presidential ballot, was announced here on Thursday.
The coalition involves some former Northern Alliance heavyweights such as Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, Ahmad Zia Massoud, then spymaster Amarullah Saleh and Uzbek warlord Gen. Abdul Rashid Dostum.
Jamiat-i-Islami Izzatullah, Qurban Ali, ex-interior minister Hanif Atmar, Noorul Haq Ulumi and others.
Leaders of the parties signed an agreement on creation of the alliance, with Marwat saying the move was aimed to translate popular aspirations into a reality and forging national unity.
“The alliance will field a single candidate and introduce a joint electoral team,” the Jamiat leader said, assuring the presidential runner should have a noble reputation and qualifications in line with the country’s constitution.
The coalition pledged to work for resolving social problems, restoring stability, political reforms, positive interaction among ethnic communities and balanced distribution of powers.
Comprised of representatives from member parties, the alliance High Consultative Council would nominate candidates for presidential and vice-presidential slots, Marwat told journalists.
Also present on the occasion was Balkh Governor Atta Mohammad Noor, who promised the alliance would nominate a presidential candidate acceptable to all communities and who could preserve gains of the past decade.
Ex-foreign minister Dr. Abdullah the grouping would name its candidates in a specified time. “Our basic objective is to expand the alliance and lure prominent political figures into the ranks.”
Conspicuous by their absence were then interior ministers Ali Ahmad Jalali, Atmar, former US ambassador Zalmai Khalilzad and President Karzai’s brother Abdul Qayyum Karzai, who attended the previous two meetings.
Meanwhile, Khalilzad’s office in Kabul said the diplomat had taken part in past meetings to promote confidence-building and unity among Afghan political forces. Negotiations on how to achieve this goal are still ongoing.