For the first time in a decade, Afghans heading to the polls in the April 5 presidential election will be presented with a ballot paper lacking the most familiar figure on the country’s political landscape: Hamid Karzai.
Karzai is constitutionally barred from running for a third term following his 2004 and 2009 victories.
Few Afghans, however, expect Karzai to completely exit the country’s political scene after dominating Afghanistan’s politics since the 2001 US-led military operation to oust the Taliban. Although the Afghan president had vowed not to publicly endorse any candidate, former foreign minister Zalmay Rassoul is widely believed to be the outgoing president’s favoured candidate.
The Afghan Independent Election Commission (IEC) initially approved a list of 11 presidential candidates. Three of them have since dropped out of the race.
Here are some of the leading contenders in the 2014 Afghan presidential race:
Date created : 2014-03-24