Afghan supreme court extends Ghani’s term until delayed elections

President Ashraf Ghani’s term is extended until new elections, which have been delayed until September, can take place. (Presidential Palace via Reuters)
Updated 21 April 2019
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Afghan supreme court extends Ghani’s term until delayed elections

  • Originally set for April 20, the elections were first delayed until July 20 and pushed back again to September 28
  • Ashraf Ghani won a closely contested poll in 2014 amid allegations of fraud

KABUL: Afghanistan’s supreme court on Sunday said it had extended the term of President Ashraf Ghani until delayed elections take place — resolving for now the question of what would happen after his term expires on May 22.

Presidential elections were initially slated for April 20, but Afghan election officials were unprepared for a new nationwide poll so soon after October parliamentary elections.

With some final results from that election still pending, the presidential poll was delayed until July 20, then pushed back again until September 28.

“The Afghan supreme court has extended the service term of President Ghani until the re-election of a new president,” the court said in a statement.

“The supreme court understands the financial, security and logistical challenges faced by the election commission.”

The delayed elections come as the US tries to negotiate a peace deal with the Taliban, and some had speculated the polls were being deliberately stalled to create more space for those talks.

Opposition politicians and presidential contenders had called for an interim government to fill the gap between Ghani’s mandate expiring and the presidential elections.

The supreme court said it was asking “presidential candidates to respect the delay in the presidential elections.”

Ghani was elected in 2014 in a closely contested poll that was mired by allegations of fraud and that saw him lead a power-sharing government.


Eiffel Tower evacuated after climber spotted on monument

Updated 5 min 54 sec ago
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Eiffel Tower evacuated after climber spotted on monument

PARIS: The Eiffel Tower was evacuated on Monday afternoon after a man was spotted climbing up the Paris landmark, the company that operates the structure said.
"A climber has been spotted. It's the standard procedure. We have to stop the person, and in that case we evacuate the tower," an official with the SETE operator told AFP, adding that police were on the scene.
The esplanade underneath the monument was also evacuated.
"We kindly advise our visitors to postpone their visit," the SETE added on Twitter.
Police have made contact with the climber but do not yet know why he began his ascent via the iron beams, a police source told AFP.
The tower is regularly the target of rogue freeclimbers hoping to scale one of the world's most famous structures, often for bragging rights.

An unidentified man (L) climbs the Eiffel Tower, which had to be evacuated, in Paris, France, May 20, 2019. (Reuters)

But police have also been called in several times in recent years to try to thwart suicide attempts.
In October 2017, a young man ventured out on one of the beams and threatened to jump before police were able to convince him to come back.
In 2012, a British man managed to climb to the very top of the 324-metre-high tower before plunging to his death.
Nearly seven million people a year visit the 324-metre-high structure, which last week celebrated its 130th anniversary.
The first two floors can be reached by either elevator or stairs, but only elevators whisk people to the top observation deck.
That didn't stop the French urban freeclimber Alain Robert from making it one of his first targets in his campaign to scale the world's biggest buildings with no technical climbing gear.
He got to the top -- not including the antenna-- in the mid 1990s.