Afghanistan's new president: Contenders sign power-sharing agreement to end potentially catastrophic leadership limbo

The inauguration to replace outgoing President Hamid Karzai is expected within days

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The Independent Online

Afghanistan's two presidential candidates have signed a power-sharing deal for the roles of president and chief executive three months after a disputed runoff that threatened to plunge the country into turmoil and complicate the withdrawal of US and other foreign troops.

Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai, who will become president, and Abdullah Abdullah signed the national unity government deal as outgoing President Hamid Karzai watched. The deal follows weeks of negotiations on a power-sharing arrangement following accusations of fraud in the June runoff vote.

The deal is a victory for US Secretary of State John Kerry, who first got the candidates to agree in principle to share power during a July visit.

The inauguration to replace Karzai — who has been in power since late 2001 — is expected within days.