Presidential poll campaign begins tomorrow
KABUL (Pajhwok): Amid security concerns, a two-month long presidential electioneering campaign is set to begin on Sunday, with 11 candidates vying to replace the incumbent Hamid Karzai.
Presidential candidates are said to be planning to hold large political gatherings in Kabul and provinces.
But representatives of some hopefuls say they are concerned about the security situation; particularly when the candidates travel to provinces as part of their campaign.
Fahim Kohdamani, a spokesman for Abdul Rab Rassoul Sayyaf, told Pajhwok Afghan News they planned to organise rallies of supporters in Kabul and provinces, but insecurity could disrupt their pre-planned programmes.
He called Sayyaf one of the leading presidential candidates, saying the former jihadi leader had survived many attempts on his life and militants had spared no effort in assassinating him. He urged security forces to strain every nerve to shield him and other candidates.
Meanwhile, Independent Election Commission (IEC) chief Mohammad Yusuf Nuristani held a meeting with presidential candidates to discuss security measures put in place for the electioneering and elections.
Nuristani told presidential hopefuls some polling stations faced security threats, which could be overcome with their cooperation.
Interior Minister Mohammad Omar Daudzai, who attended the meeting, said efforts were being made to do away with threats posed by militants to polling centres.
He said a number of under threat election sites would be secured as security forces had been trying to maintain their security.
The presidential campaign, which will culminate in Afghanistan’s first-ever democratic transfer of power, begins at a time when the country is entering an uncertain era due to a dispute between Kabul and Washington over whether a small force of United States soldiers stays behind beyond 2014.
President Karzai, who has been in office since the fall of the Taliban in 2001, is barred from seeking a third term.
Tipped to go through to the run-off stage is Abdullah Abdullah and other heavyweight candidates are former finance minister Ashraf Ghani, Karzai loyalist Zalmai Rassoul and the president’s elder brother Qayum Karzai.
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