KABUL, Afghanistan — The deal that Secretary of State John Kerry brokered to ease the Afghan election crisis with a sweeping audit of the vote was quietly built on an even more profound reshaping of the entire government system, the New York Times reported Sunday, citing unnamed U.S. and Afghan officials.
The two presidential candidates have agreed to gradually create an empowered prime minister post after years of an all-encompassing presidency, the officials said.
The change was a central goal for candidate Abdullah Abdullah, who has brought the political system to the brink with accusations of rampant fraud and threats to form a breakaway government, according to officials who were close to the negotiations.
The candidate who is declared president after a complete vote audit in the coming weeks would then appoint either the loser or that candidate's nominee to become a "chief executive" for the government, with powers to be agreed on later. Then, in the following two or three years, the constitution would be amended to create a parliamentary democracy with a prime minister as head of the government and a president as the head of state.
More immediately, the two candidates, Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai, are in the coming weeks to divvy up Cabinet posts, governorships and other jobs as Afghan and international elections officials review each one of the more than 8 million votes cast in the June 14 runoff.
Both Abdullah and Ahmadzai pledged to accept the results and form a national unity government when they announced the deal with Kerry on Saturday.