KABUL - A 14-member Jirga, including key former jihadi leaders, tribal elders and other influential figures, has been constituted to make efforts at reducing the number of presidential candidates.
Set up by former president and reconciliation commission head, Sibghatullah Mujaddedi, the Jirgais headed by his deputy Asadullah Wafa, according to the forum’s members.
They said they would make efforts to convince weak presidential candidates to stand down in favor of leading ones. The Jirga will call on runners, whose programs have similarities, to enter alliances to cut short their number.
Members of the forum from eastern Nangarhar and central Logar province are Haji Din Mohammad and Haji Mohammad Naeem Kuchi. Abdul Rahman Zadran, Senator Baz Mohammad Zurmati and Anwar Khan Ishaqzai are from Khost, Paktia and Helmand.
Haji Musa Khan Hotak represents Maidan Wardak in the Jirgaand Maulvi Shahzada Shahid and Mohammad Noor Akbari Kunar and Daikundi provinces respectively.
From Badakhshan and Balkh, the Jirga members are Niamatullah Shahrani and Salikzada and from Ghazni and Kunduz, they are Maulvi Abdul Wahid and Moeen Mrastial.
Maulvi Haqqani and Haji Khair Mohammad Khan belong to Laghman and Sar-i-Pul provinces in the jirga.
Mrastial, a former member of the Wolesi Jirga, told Pajhwok Afghan News the Jirga was expected to hold its maiden meeting next week and then start meeting presidential candidates.
“Hazrat Sahib has taken up the subject with a number of candidates, political and tribal leaders and there has been positive response,” he said.
He said if the number of candidates was reduced, it would help cut election costs and make it easy for the people to choose preferred candidate.
The former lawmaker said some individuals had filed nomination papers to cut deals with potential runners.
He said favorite candidates had near similar programs and priorities and the Jirga would make efforts to convince them into jointly implementing their plans.
Mrastial believed five to six eligible candidates – two pro-government, two from opposition parties and one or two independent --- should run for the presidency. (Pajhwok)