[QODLink]
Central & South Asia

Karzai's brother quits presidential race

Qayoum Karzai, older brother of Afghanistan's president, drops out to endorse Zalmai Rassoul in next month's poll.

Last updated: 06 Mar 2014 08:42
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Recent polls had put Qayoum Karzai at fourth or fifth place in the April 5 polls [EPA]

Qayoum Karzai, the older brother of Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai has dropped out of the race for next month’s presidential elections.

Thursday’s announcement comes after weeks of speculation that the elder Karzai would bow out in favour of Zalmai Rassoul, his brother's former foreign minister.

Announcing his support of Rassoul at Kabul’s Intercontinental hotel, Qayoum said he did so: "for the sake of unity, the Afghan people asked this sacrifice of us."

Speaking after Qayoum, Rassoul said such a "strong coalition" is necessary for moving forward towards success.

In joining the team of "moderation and rebuilding", Rassoul lauded Qayoum for showing that he was "working for the betterment of the country" and operating on a knowledge of what Afghanistan needs most.

Endorsement

It is believed that the incumbent has thrown his support behind Rassoul and called on several candidates, including his brother, to join in supporting Rassoul. Rassoul has been a close ally of Hamid Karzai since the fall of the Taliban.

Qayoum was also absent from Tuesday’s night debate between Rassoul, Dr Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai. Election observers said Qayoum’s absence was a sure sign of his impending exit from the race.

Recent polls had put Qayoum at fourth or fifth place in the April 5 polls.

Qayoum's departure comes after Hedayat Amin Arsala, another former Karzai aide, told the media that he would campaign "alongside" Gul Agha Sherzai, the former governor of eastern Nangarhar province.

Though several candidates were expected to have pulled out from the race by this point, Arsala maintained that his move was purely to campaign together, not an endorsement of the former governor Hamid Karzai had dubbed "the bulldozer".

Hamid Karzai is constitutionally barred from seeking another term in the April 5 polls, which will mark the third presidential elections in Afghanistan. If successful, the ballot will make history as the first peaceful, democratic transition of power in Afghanistan.

317

Source:
Al Jazeera
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Featured on Al Jazeera
UNHCR says hundreds of people trapped in Yaloke town risk death if they are not evacuated to safety urgently.
'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.
Featured
Long-standing dispute over Christian use of the word 'Allah' raises concerns about a very un-Merry Christmas.
The threat posed by ISIL has prompted thousands of young Kurds to join the PKK.
Baja California - with its own grim history of disappeared people - finds a voice in the fight against violence.
Russian feminist rockers fight system holding 700,000 - the world's largest per capita prison population after the US.
Weeks of growing protests against Muslims continue in Dresden with 15,000 hitting the streets last Monday.