Kabul: Afghanistan's new President-elect Ashraf Ghani congratulated the country on Monday on what he called its first democratic transfer of power, but the former rival with whom he signed a power-sharing deal was absent from celebrations.
Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah struck an agreement yesterday to form a "unity government", after months of disputes over who was rightful winner of the June 14 runoff presidential election tipped Afghanistan into a political crisis.
"It is a big victory for the Afghan nation that for the first time in our bright history, power is transferred from one elected president to another president based on the nation's votes," Ghani told cheering supporters in Kabul.
Under the "national unity government" deal, Ghani will become president and Abdullah will serve as chief executive - a new role similar to prime minister.
"Foreigners said it was not possible for Afghans to peacefully transfer power," Ghani said, addressing a crowd of noisy supporters in a nationally televised speech.
"Now you see it has happened after the people of Afghanistan waited very patiently for six months for the results," he said, referring to the first-round vote in April.
"You voted to us so we could bring peace and stability. Stability in Afghanistan is more important to us than anything.
"The goal of the national unity government is peace. We are tired of blood."