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Afghan Elections: Ramazan Bashardost Profile

With the latest public opinion polls putting Ramazan Bashardost in third place, the ethnic Hazara candidate could be an election spoiler, winning just enough votes to deny any candidate the more than 50 percent of votes needed to avoid a run-off.

Bashardost is a member of parliament and once served as Afghanistan's planning minister. His campaign is run out of a tent erected on the shoulder of the highway that runs in front of Afghanistan's parliament building.

Like other Afghan candidates, Bashardost has campaigned hard against widespread official corruption and, by association, incumbent President Hamid Karzai. Bashardost has made attempts to reign in graft; during his post as planning minister, he tried to expel nearly 2,000 international aid organizations from Afghanistan, accusing them of corruption and cronyism.

On his campaign Web site, his top campaign issues are listed as security, long-term strategic planning, abolishing hunger and eliminating illiteracy.

He was born in Ghazni province in 1965 and left Afghanistan during the Soviet invasion. He studied abroad in France but returned to Afghanistan in 2003 and was appointed planning minister one year later.