Afghanistan presidential candidates announced

Afghanistan presidential candidates announced
Tue Oct 22, 2013 20:27:49

Afghanistan’s Independent election commission (IEC) has declared at least ten candidates qualified to run for 2014 presidential election.

Sources in independent election commission said that 16 candidates were disqualified due to lack of credentials.

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

The eligible candidates according to IEC sources include Abdul Rab Rasool Sayyaf, Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai, Abdullah Abdullah, Abdul Rahim Wardak, Hedayat Amin Arsala, Zalmai Rassoul, Qotbuddin Helal, Qayoum Karzai, Gul Agha Sherzoi, Sardar Nader Naeem.

This comes as President Hamid Karzai is not allowed to run for a third five-year term under Afghan law.

Afghanistan’s presidential election is scheduled to be held on April 5, 2014.

The Afghan presidential election comes as US-led combat troops are expected to withdraw by December 2014 and the Taliban seek a return to government.

The upcoming vote is scheduled to be held months before the expected withdrawal of the US-led foreign forces from the war-ravaged country.

The election comes at a time when the country is grappling with growing wave of violence and militancy.

The last presidential election took place in 2009.

Karzai has repeatedly warned against the US meddling in Afghanistan's upcoming presidential election, stressing that the presence of foreigners in the country’s election watchdog is against the country's sovereignty. Two of the five members of the Electoral Complaints Commission in Afghanistan are non-Afghan.

"The presence of foreigners in the Electoral Complaints Commission is against the sovereignty of Afghanistan," Karzai said in October 2012, adding that "Foreign observers can still come to monitor the transparency or non-transparency of the election, but their interference in the election process is against Afghanistan's sovereignty."

Some analysts are calling the landmark election the litmus test for democracy after 12 years of a US-led occupation.

SHI/SHI

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