Kabul: Ending months of vote-related tension, Afghanistan's election commission named a new president on Sunday only hours after the two leading candidates signed a power-sharing deal that names one of them as the country's new chief executive.
The commission named Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai as the winner and next president and noted that Abdullah Abdullah will be the next chief executive. But it pointedly did not release final vote totals amid suggestions that doing so could inflame tensions. The deal brings to a close an election season that began in April, when millions of Afghans first went to the polls despite threats from Taliban militants, and ended when the two leading candidates signed a national unity government agreement and embraced in a hug. US officials lauded the deal and said they believed Ghani Ahmadzai would sign a security agreement soon after taking his oath of office that would allow some 10,000 American forces to remain in Afghanistan next year. After 13 years of war following the September 11, 2001 attacks, all combat troops are to withdraw by the end of 2014.It took weeks of negotiations to form a power sharing arrangement after accusations of fraud in the June run-off vote. The deal is a victory for US secretary of state John Kerry, who first got the candidates to agree in principle to share power during a July visit to Afghanistan.