21 Sep 2014

Afghan rivals agree leadership deal

2:53 pm on 21 September 2014

One of two rival candidates in Afghanistan's disputed presidential election, Abdullah Abdullah, has said he now accepts his rival, Ashraf Ghani, should be president, following months of deadlock.

Mr Abdullah's spokesperson said both candidates had finalised a deal to form a government of national unity with Mr Ghani as president and Mr Abdullah nominating a chief executive, the BBC reports.

An official announcement was expected to be made on Sunday.

 Afghan President Hamid Karzai (C) gestures while speaking as presidential candidates Ashraf Ghani (L) and Abdullah Abdullah (R) look on during an event to mark Independence Day at the Ministry of Defence compound in Kabul on August 19, 2014.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai (C), Ashraf Ghani (L) and Abdullah Abdullah (R). Photo: AFP

Both sides accused the other of fraud following June's election.

The move follows the completion of a comprehensive audit of all 8 million votes, which began in July.

A spokesperson for Mr Ghani said there was no longer any dispute between the two sides, and they were ready to sign a deal.

Under the terms of the deal, Mr Ghani would become president, the most powerful position in Afghanistan's government.

Mr Abdullah would be able to nominate a chief executive officer, with powers similar to that of a prime minister.

Earlier, both sides had disagreed over how the unity deal would be announced.

Aides for Mr Abdullah said the final tally of votes should not be made public, but Mr Ghani said he should be declared president only after the results are announced.

It isn't clear yet how the dispute over the announcement of the deal was resolved, or how the announcement will be made.

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