The outcome of the Afghan presidential elections appears destined to be delayed, at least in the near-term. Despite recent statements made by both candidates to the contrary, a resolution to the oft-delayed elections seems unlikely to arrive soon, as Ashraf Ghani recently declared that any “two headed government” cannot be tolerated. The negotiations for an Afghan unity government had been reported by Ghani’s opponent Abdullah Abdullah as “deadlocked” as recently as three days ago, though both candidates had refrained from making categorical statements regarding the outcome of the elections.
Ghani has based his most recent opposition to a unity government on the Afghan constitution, which he interprets as being intrinsically opposed to the formation of any “unity” government comprised of two figure heads. The Afghan government had been rumored to consist of two roles, with one taking a hybrid of a presidential and ministerial role, which would have been labeled as the “chief executive.”
The outcome of the elections is expected at some point last week, though a specific date and time have not been divulged.
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- Iranian President Hassan Rouhani is currently in attendance of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization’s annual summit in Dushanbe, Tajikistan. The Iranian leader stressed the importance of Tajikistan, both as a political partner and cultural relative, to Iran, while stressing the importance of Tajikistan to stability throughout Central Asia. The Central Asian state recently celebrated its 13th independence day, an independence that Iran was the first to recognize, in 1991.
- The European Union will allocate approximately €30m to Kyrgyzstan. The allotment comes as the European Union renews its budgetary commitments for the coming year, and looks to encourage development in the nascent democracy led by officials in Bishkek. The program destined for Kyrgyzstan will be included in a program aimed at investment strategy for the 2015-2017 years.
- The Washington Post reports on China’s recent inauguration of a new bullet train that will connect Lanzhou, a traditional, Han Chinese city situated in the country’s northwest, to Urumqi, the capital of China’s restive Xinjiang province. The implementation of new, efficient and more consistent transportation connecting Chinese provinces with a high population of Han Chinese with the traditionally Turkic western regions has sparked controversy throughout the region, and the Chinese government has been widely criticized for alleged attempts at forced assimilation of the Uyghur minority with traditional Chinese culture.
- Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev recently welcomed Kazakh Deputy Prime Minister Tayirbek Sarpashev to Baku. Both Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan border the Caspian Sea, and have sought previously to increase cooperation among other nations that share the status. Discussions in Baku are expected to touch on the country’s political relations, as well as development in the economic and humanitarian sectors, amongst other areas.