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Iran Press TV

Afghanistan announces final list of presidential candidates

Iran Press TV

Wed Nov 20, 2013 5:58PM GMT

Independent Election Commission (IEC) of Afghanistan has declared eleven candidates as eligible to run for 2014 presidential election.

Abdul Rahman Hotak, the deputy chief of the commission, said on Wednesday that the vetting of candidates had been done without accepting any pressure.

'Eleven candidates have made it to the final list for presidential election,' Hotak told a news conference, adding, 'We have done all our vetting honestly, and without accepting any pressure on us. We have done it independently.'

The eligible candidates according to IEC sources include Abdullah Abdullah, Zalmay Rasul, Ashraf Ghani, Hidayat Amin Arsala, Abdul Rahim Wardak, Qayum Karzai, Abdul Rab Rasul Sayyaf, Gul Agha Sherzai, Qutbuddin Hilal, Daud Sultanzoi, and Sardar Nadir Naeem.

This comes as President Hamid Karzai is not allowed to run for a third five-year term under Afghan law.

Afghanistan's presidential election is scheduled to be held on April 5, 2014.

The Afghan presidential election comes as US-led combat troops are expected to withdraw by December 2014 and the Taliban seek a return to government.

The upcoming vote is scheduled to be held months before the expected withdrawal of the US-led foreign forces from the war-ravaged country.

The election comes at a time when the country is grappling with growing wave of violence and militancy.

The last presidential election took place in 2009.

Karzai has repeatedly warned against the US meddling in Afghanistan's upcoming presidential election, stressing that the presence of foreigners in the country's election watchdog is against the country's sovereignty. Two of the five members of the Electoral Complaints Commission in Afghanistan are non-Afghan.

'The presence of foreigners in the Electoral Complaints Commission is against the sovereignty of Afghanistan,' Karzai said in October 2012, adding, 'Foreign observers can still come to monitor the transparency or non-transparency of the election, but their interference in the election process is against Afghanistan's sovereignty.'

Some analysts are calling the landmark election a litmus test for democracy after 12 years of a US-led occupation.

JR/SS



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