Lack of democracy hinders Karzai: experts

Lack of democracy hinders Karzai: experts

Azerbaijan, Baku, Nov. 5 / Trend , E.Ostapenko/

The legitimacy of Afghan President Hamid Karzai's government will not be recognized until Afghan political circles gain confidence in the opposition and democracy, experts believe.

"The key precondition for democracy to flourish - trust in the system and trust in opponents - are not met in Afghanistan. As long as this is not the case, Karzai will not be recognized as a legitimate leader," Afghanistan expert and German Otto-Suhr-Institute of Political Science Fellow Christian Tuschhoff told Trend .

The legitimacy of the Karzai government is under doubt after his reelection as Afghanistan's president. Karzai had no political rivals during the election. The Central Election Commission (CEC) declared Karzai head of state and canceled the second round of voting scheduled for Nov. 7. The CEC made the decision when presidential candidate, former Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah refused to participate in the second round last Sunday.

The result of the election is a bad sign for democracy in Afghanistan, Tuschhoff said.

He believes the key is that Abdullah's withdrawal puts a spotlight on the key problem. In a democracy all people - political elites and the public alike - have to trust one another as well as the system of democracy. Recent events prove that Afghanistan lacks this trust, he said.

According to Norwegian Expert on Regional Security Kristian Berg Harpviken, Abdullah and Karzai have developed a bad personal relationship. They both seek power for themselves and their supporters, and will fight hard over the posts in the cabinet. Further, the expert believes they also disagree on key political issues, including whether it is possible to negotiate with parts of the Taliban.

Harpviken said Karzai has lost much of his legitimacy among the Afghan population, as well as in relation to his international counterparts.

"It is very likely that a new government led by Karzai will be difficult for the international community to work with," Oslo-based International Peace Research Institute Director Harpviken told Trend .

However, parliament considers the legitimacy of his government an indisputable fact.

"Although Abdullah refused to participate in the presidential elections, he did not boycott them, Parliamentary Committee on Internal Security in Afghanistan Deputy Chairman Khalid Poshtun told Trend in a telephone conversation from Kabul.

The situation in Afghanistan remains critical. Despite billions of dollars in assistance by the international community, Afghanistan is practically the poorest country in the world. Twelve million people in Afghanistan (in total about 26 million people live in the country) live under poverty.

Under the governance of Karzai - current president of the country since 2001 - the level of the drug trade in Afghanistan has increased as compared to the period of Taliban's governance (1996 - 2001). He failed to suppress the armed resistance of the Taliban and the real power in the country remains in the hands of warlords. Over the past 20 years, the country has been mired in corruption.

The most likely path to achieve progress and stability is for Karzai and Abdullah to form a coalition government, experts believe.

According to Poshtun, Karzai will approve Abdullah's appointment to a high position in the Cabinet of Ministers, which will satisfy his supporters.

Harpviken believes that in the current situation, there are no solutions that are really good. Rather it is a question of what is the least bad solution, he said.

"A coalition government will in no way solve Afghanistan's problems, but it is a better foundation for progress that either of the alternatives," - he said.

D.Khatinoglu contributed to this article.

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