Afghanistan’s Independent Election Commission has announced a list of 16 disqualified presidential election candidates, more than half the candidates who registered.

Though initial media reports claimed Zalmai Rassool, former foreign minister, and Rahim Wardak, former defence minister, were on the list of candidates removed from the initial list of 27 candidates, Tuesday's list saw no big names disqualified.

Among those disqualified from the April 5 polls were Khadija Ghaznawi, the only female candidate, and Hashmat Ghani Ahmadzai, Grand Council Chieftain of Afghanistan's two million-strong nomad population.

Independent Elections Commission chief Ahmad Yousuf Nuristani said the disqualified candidates have 20 days to raise any objections to the commission, according to Associated Press news agency. 

"There are different reasons [for the disqualifications]. Some of them had problems with documents, education levels, the number of registration signatures," Nuristani said. "They now have 20 days to criticise and complain.''

'Personal game'

Speaking to Al Jazeera in Kabul, Hashmat, brother of Dr Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai, considered a frontrunner in next year's election, has decried what he called a "personal game" by Hamid Karzai, the incumbent.

Hashmat, who plans to appeal the claims that he still holds US citizenship, said "if Karzai wants to play these games, we will play along. We will show him that we can bring the votes province by province".

Among the other disqualified candidates are: Anwarul Haq Ahadi, former commerce and industry minister and Daud Sultanzoy, former MP and TV host.

The remaining candidates include front-runners: Zalmai Rassool, Dr Abdullah Abdullah, who came in second in the 2009 polls and Abdul Rab Rasoul Sayyaf, former jihadi commander and MP.

The final list of fully vetted candidates will be released by the IEC on November 19.

The April 5 vote could determine the future course of Afghanistan and the level of foreign involvement here after 12 years of war.

President Hamid Karzai is not entitled to run for a third consecutive term in elections, but is expected to back at least one of the candidates, his former foreign minister Zalmai Rassoul.

Source: Al Jazeera and agencies