KABUL (Pajhwok): Presidential election hopefuls on Monday termed President Ashraf Ghani’s stay in office beyond May 22 as unconstitutional and warned all options for the creation of a caretaker government were on the table
Article 61 of the Constitution says, “The presidential term shall expire on 1st of Jawza (May 22) of the fifth year after elections.”
Eleven presidential candidates attended a press conference here and presented their alternative plan for continuation of the government after its five year term expire on May 22.
The presidential candidates reproduced their last week’s plan for creation of a caretaker government after May 22 --- the last legal day of the incumbent government.
Mohammad Hanif Atmar, a presidential candidate, who attended the conference, said the current government after May 22 would lose its legitimacy.
“For this reason, candidates in consultation with political parties, lawyers, civil societyinstitutes… have developed a plan which would be good for the country if implemented,” he said.
“The current government has lost its national trust, the security situation and other affairs would face more problems in such a condition, we first tell the government leaders that their term is up, if they do not accept, we will create a political and national census and will tell them with a stronger voice to leave the government,”  he said.
He said it was not acceptable for any candidate that the election date should be delayed for a second time a few months later and the Supreme Court again extended the government’s term. “It is not possible that the people will afford this government beyond May 22,” he said.
Presidential candidate Abdul Latif Pedram said the national unity government was incepted on the basis of disgrace and insult to the Constitution. “This government had no legitimacy from its very start.”
Pedram said he would not allow the next election to take place under President Ashraf Ghani’s supervision.
Ghani’s presence at the Presidential Office has no legitimacy after May 22 and if it was not seriously considered, they would launch protests to make their voices heard.
Ahmad Wali Masood, another presidential election hopeful, said as two days were left with the National Unity Government (NUG) and government leaders have no right to illegally govern despite being candidates at the same time.
He said the NUG was not able to hold presidential poll on the exact time and now according to the Constitution its term has completed and has no right to continue its work.
The plan the candidates suggest says being a candidate and a leader of the government at the same time is a type of discrimination which disrupts the rules of the competition as well as plunges the country into crisis.
“If the current president withdraws his candidacy, he can continue to remain in his position as leader of the caretaker government after May 22 without following any legal mechanism, the vice-presidents of the president also can do so, if they cancel their partnership with electoral teams, they can continue their duty as deputies of the caretaker,” the council says in its suggestive plan.
“If the first suggestion is not implemented, a big political discussion would be created as a rational choice,” it said. “In this choice, presidential candidates and eligible figures who are independent, committed and nationally acceptable, can nominate a leader of the caretaker government,” it said.
On the other hand, a number of Meshrano Jirga or upper house members today called a caretaker government as against the law and said such a plan was not in the interest of the public.
However, Presidential spokesman Mohammad Haroon Chakahnsori wrote on his social account:  “the only source to interpret the law is the Supreme Court, not political parties and figures.”
Meanwhile, article 104, clause 6 of the election law says in case elections are postponed or suspended, members of the elected bodies mentioned in this law shall continue to serve in their positions until elections are held and results announced.
President Ashraf Ghani in a video message said the presidential election was postponed in the previous government before the Supreme Court verdict and after that the apex court announced the date of election, which he respected.


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