Afghan President Hamid Karzai will have to defeat 40 candidates in upcoming elections if he wants to stay in power.
election officials released the final list of presidential candidates
Saturday, and it includes two former members of Mr. Karzai's Cabinets - ex-Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah and ex-Finance Minister Ashraf
The final list of presidential candidates for the August 20 election also includes two women.
Karzai is seeking a second term in office with current Vice President
Karim Khalili and former Vice President Mohammad Qasim Fahim as his two
A worsening Taliban insurgency and charges of
government corruption have weakened Mr. Karzai's image at home and
abroad. But so far, a strong challenger to his re-election bid has not
The president of Afghanistan's election commission was
critical of many of the candidates on the final list, though he did not
mention any names.
Azizullah Lodin told reporters Saturday that
he thought many of the candidates should not be running for president
because they lack education or any relevant experience. But he said he
had not power to remove them.
The original list had 44 candidates but two were disqualified and one dropped out.
Mr. Karzai has led Afghanistan since the U.S.-backed invasion ousted the Taliban in 2001. He first won election in 2004.
Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.