Karzai calls for consensus after boycott


KABUL: President Hamid Karzai yesterday called on hundreds of delegates who have boycotted a vote on the country's first constitution to work towards consensus, in a move aimed at dampening bitter ethnic rivalries. 

“The purpose is to have a constitution that reflects the views and considerations and interests of all the people of Afghanistan. 

“Therefore, it is important to have a constitution that comes with near consensus, if not total consensus,” Karzai told reporters at the presidential palace. 

“That's why we delayed the meeting yesterday so that we find out what's going on, why are some people refusing to vote, how can we resolve that in order to find a solution that is acceptable to all and a constitution that reflects the whole of this country,” he said. 

Karzai said progress had been made in discussions with delegates, some of whom on Friday met with United Nations special envoy Lakhdar Brahimi. 

“A lot of solutions have been found, there is one little thing that they are working on this morning,” Karzai said. 

After nearly three weeks of heated debate, just around 259 of the 502 delegates took part in a vote Thursday on five contentious articles in the draft constitution. 

The boycott forced an adjournment of the loya jirga, or grand assembly, which has been dubbed the “loya jagra” (“big fight”) by some Afghans. 

Delegates from the Uzbek, Tajik, Hazara and Turkmen minorities refused to vote, worried they would be sidelined under the proposed constitution, which has been largely supported by the Pashtuns who account for around 40% of the country's multi-ethnic population. 

They also said the amended draft had been altered and did not reflect the findings of a delegates' committee that finished work on the draft last weekend and was supposed to have reconciled the views of supporters of the proposed presidential system and those who want a strong parliament. 

Uzbeks and Turkmens have called for their languages to be given official status alongside Dari and Pashtu and want articles on the national anthem and official languages to be agreed by consensus rather than put to a vote. 

They and other delegates, including members of powerful mujahidin (anti-Soviet fighter) factions who favour a parliamentary system, have also called for provincial councils to be given more authority in the face of a powerful central government. – AFP  

Article type: metered
User Type: anonymous web
User Status:
Campaign ID: 1
Cxense type: free
User access status: 3
   

Did you find this article insightful?

Yes
No

Next In Regional

MCO 2.0 less severe on economy, says AmBank Research
WhatsApp postpones privacy changes, but Hong Kong experts say outcry has already evolved into crisis of confidence
Violent US domestic extremism may be around for a while
Ringgit dips as greenback rises on safe haven demand
Kenanga lowers earnings forecast for GentingM amid more lockdowns
Foreign investors turn net buyers again on Bursa
Wuhan, one year after coronavirus lockdown
Covid-19: Cases up by 3,339, bringing total to 158,434 (updated daily)
Covid-19: 3,339 new cases, 7 new fatalities bring total to 601
India's COVID-19 vaccination drive hits bump due to app glitch

Stories You'll Enjoy