News / Asia

Afghanistan Moves Closer To Historic Political Transition

Ashraf Ghani, former Afghan finance minister, center, joins hands with his supporters after registering his candidacy in next year's presidential election, in Kabul, Afghanistan, Sunday, Oct. 6, 2013.
Ashraf Ghani, former Afghan finance minister, center, joins hands with his supporters after registering his candidacy in next year's presidential election, in Kabul, Afghanistan, Sunday, Oct. 6, 2013.
Ayaz Gul
Election authorities in Afghanistan have wrapped up a three-week process of registering candidates for next April’s crucial presidential vote. By the end of the deadline on Sunday, about 20 political heavyweights, including Islamist warlords, had submitted their candidacies for the country’s top office. 

While the list of registered contenders for the April 5 presidential election has ended weeks of speculation over who is going to seek to replace President Hamid Karzai, the race remains wide open, with no clear front-runner. 

Several prominent Afghan personalities were among the candidates who filed nominations to the Independent Election Commission in Kabul Sunday, just hours before it closed the registration campaign. 

They include former foreign minister Zalmay Rassoul, former finance minister Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai, who oversaw the transfer of security responsibilities from NATO to Afghan security forces, and Qayum Karzai, elder brother of the Afghan president.

Rassoul spoke to reporters after submitting his nomination papers on Sunday.

He said that if elected he, along with his team, will work toward more progress in Afghanistan, protecting historic achievements the country has made over the past decade, delivering good governance and stabilizing the legitimate national economy.

Ghani, also an ethnic Pashtun who came in third in the 2009 presidential election, promised to include losing candidates in his government if he is voted to power.

The former finance minister said this is the first time in national history that political power will be transferred to another elected team, and he predicted his team will be the winner because Afghanistan needs change.

The constitution bars President Karzai from running for a third consecutive term, and he has promised to stay neutral in the upcoming elections. However, there are speculations in the local media that the incumbent Afghan leader is expected to support his former foreign minister, Zalmay Rassoul. 

Other top contenders include former foreign minister Abullah Abdullah, who was the runner-up to President Karzai in the 2009 polls, and lawmaker Abdul Rab Rasoul Sayyaf, an influential ethnic Pashtun religious scholar.

The April election is the first independent vote Afghanistan is organizing without direct foreign assistance, and it is taking place during the same year that American-led military coalition will wind up its combat mission in the country. 

In the wake of the stepped up Taliban insurgency, many describe security as the biggest challenge for the Afghan national forces ahead of the election. Others caution against repetition of widespread rigging and fraud that marred the 2009 presidential election. 
 
Addressing the Asia Society in New York as the foreign minister of Afghanistan, Zalmay Rassoul also underlined the importance of fair polls.
 
"This election is extremely important because if this election happened successfully and the result of this election will be accepted by the Afghan people, definitely the democratic process will be rooted in Afghan society and it can continue with achievement that we have made your (international community's) support in democratic process... and if we fail on providing a credible election, that will be disaster for the future of Afghanistan," he said.

The prevailing security concerns, particularly in areas where the Taliban has a strong presence, were once again highlighted by a roadside bomb attack Sunday in southern Afghanistan that killed four international soldiers, all of them reported to be Americans.

You May Like

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Goodbye, New York

This is what the fastest-growing big cities in America have in common More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs