Led by former national security advisor and presidential candidate Mohammad Haneef Atmar, the Peace and Moderation election campaign team on Monday failed to convene their first public gathering in Kabul over reports of serious differences between Atmar and Atta Mohammad Noor, a former governor of the northern province of Balkh and a long-time critic of President Ashraf Ghani.
Sources familiar with the campaign team said the differences are apparently over the two issues which included of the nomination of Atta Mohammad Noor as prime minister in the campaign and also the absence of Noor’s picture in Atmar’s election campaign photos.
Atmar’s spokesman rejected the claims and said the nomination of Noor as premier in the Peace and Moderation team will be finalized once the campaign announces its manifesto.
“There is consensus on all issues within the team. There is no problem. The reports that you have received have no credibility,” said Qader Shah, Atmar’s spokesman.
“Atta Mohammad Noor is one of the key members of Mr. Atmar’s team. He [Noor] and some other people strived hard in the formation of this team and this would have its implications on the setback and victory of the team,” said Mir Haidar Afzali, an MP.
The council of presidential candidates has warned that they can boycott the elections unless the president assures transparency in the process.
“If the elections are held, this should be fair and transparent. If it doesn’t happen, the candidates will announce their final decision to the people of Afghanistan on Thursday [August 1],” said presidential candidate Shahab Hakimi.
This comes as a number of election campaign teams including Peace and Justice team led by former NDS chief Rahmatullah Nabil have accused President Ghani of trying to manipulate the upcoming elections.
However, President Ghani’s spokesman Sediq Sediqqi assured that there will be no interference by the government in the electoral process.