[QODLink]
Central & South Asia

Deadline looms for Afghan presidential race

Nomination for presidential elections are set to close on Sunday, amid last-minute frenzy of political manoeuvring.

Last Modified: 06 Oct 2013 07:04
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback

Nominations for Afghanistan's presidential elections are set to close on Sunday, with deals being cut among former warlords, veteran politicians and tribal leaders in a last-minute frenzy of political manoeuvring.

At least three major contenders waited until the final day of nominations to declare whether they would run in the April 5 contest to succeed President Hamid Karzai, who has ruled the country since the fall of the Taliban in 2001.

Ashraf Ghani, a former finance minister, will register on Sunday, his officials said, while Zalmai Rassoul, the foreign minister, and Qayum Karzai, the president's brother, are also seen as possible late entries in the wide-open race.

The two big-name candidates to have already declared are Abdullah Abdullah, the runner-up to 2009, and Abdul Rab Rasoul Sayyaf, a former warlord with previous links to al-Qaeda.

Karzai, who retained power in 2009 amid allegations of massive fraud, has vowed not to endorse any candidate - but many of his supporters are looking for covert signals to reveal his favoured candidate.

'Best argument'

International donors, led by the US, see the elections as the key test of progress after 12 years of military intervention and billions of dollars of aid to try to develop Afghanistan since the end of the austere Taliban regime.

Jan Kubis, head of the UN mission in Kabul, said on Thursday that holding a credible election on time was the
"best argument" Afghanistan could make for securing further international support.

The election will come as NATO coalition troops pull out by the end of next year, with 87,000 soldiers - 57,000 of them from the US - currently deployed to fight Taliban fighters and train up the local army and police.

Four NATO troops were killed fighting in south Afghanistan on Saturday, underlining the continuing cost of the war. Their nationalities were not immediately released.

The size of the final election field remained uncertain, but Karzai has called for just two or three runners to contest on polling day to avoid the chaos of the 2009 vote when 40 names appeared on the ballot paper.

370

Source:
AFP
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
'Justice for All' demonstrations swell across the US over the deaths of African Americans in police encounters.
Six former Guantanamo detainees are now free in Uruguay with some hailing the decision to grant them asylum.
Disproportionately high number of Aboriginal people in prison highlights inequality and marginalisation, critics say.
Nearly half of Canadians have suffered inappropriate advances on the job - and the political arena is no exception.
Featured
Women's rights activists are demanding change after Hanna Lalango, 16, was gang-raped on a bus and left for dead.
Buried in Sweden's northern forest, Sorsele has welcomed many unaccompanied kids who help stabilise a town exodus.
A look at the changing face of North Korea, three years after the death of 'Dear Leader'.
While some fear a Muslim backlash after café killings, solidarity instead appears to be the order of the day.
Victims spared by the deadly disease are reporting blindness and other unexpected post-Ebola health issues.