44 candidates register for Afghan presidential electionsMay 10th, 2009 - 2:25 am ICT by IANS
Kabul, May 10 (RIA Novosti) Forty-four candidates, including two women, have registered for the Aug 20 presidential elections in Afghanistan, officials said Saturday.
To register, a candidate has to deposit about $1,000 to the election committee and submit at least 10,000 signatures endorsing the candidate. A presidential candidate must be at least 40 years old and have no prior criminal record.
According to the Afghan constitution, the elections should have been held in April. However, polls were put off until Aug 20 due to concerns over funding and security.
In Afghanistan’s first presidential elections in 2004, there were 25 registered candidates. However, only 18 participated in the polls.
President Hamid Karzai, who won the previous election with 55 percent of the votes, is considered the main candidate to win the upcoming election.
Karzai, who is supported by the majority of the Pashtu population, is running in tandem with Mukhammed Fakhim, the leader of Afghanistan’s ethnic Tajiks, who will become vice-president if Karzai is elected.
The Pashtu-Tajik alliance, which was formed just weeks before the start of the registration, apparently does not leave any chances to win the election for other candidates, including former foreign minister Abdullah Abdullah and former finance minister Ashraf Ghani.
Afghanistan has a population of about 27 million. There are approximately 17 million registered voters in the country. The polls could be declared invalid if turnout is less than 50 percent.
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