Afghan election campaign reaches its last day

All the nominees for race of presidency are trying to reach out as many public rallies as they can as Monday is the last day for campaign in the Afghan presidential and provincial council elections to be held on Aug. 20.

According to a recent survey conducted by a local newspaper in Kabul, there is a considerable number of Afghans who are yet unclear about whom to vote in the presidential elections to be held on Thursday.

The number of such voters is high, and they can decide the small margin of victory for the leading candidates to cross the 51percent vote necessary to win.

TV ads of the top four presidential candidates are being aired all the day on a dozen Afghan TV channels. It includes a short 1-2minutes video clip of the nominees addressing any campaign rally or talking about any issue.

Radio news and FM entertainment channels are all filled with repeated audio messages from candidates urging people to cast their votes in favor of them.

These ad messages are in both the national languages of Afghanistan, Dari and Pashto.

At the last leg of his campaign, Afghan sitting President Hamid Karzai’s top challenger Abdullah Abdullah in a public gathering held here described the present Afghan administration as a corrupt one and called on people to oust it through voting.

Similarly, another presidential hopeful Syed Jalal Karim in about one-hour TV ads lashed out at all rival candidates and asked people to use their franchise in his favor.

On Sunday night, the entire nation watched enthusiastically the televised debate of incumbent President Karzai, his top rivals Ramazan Bashardost and Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai at homes, in hotels and shops.

The debate was also listened by cart-pullers and street-sellerson FM radios.

It was the last nationwide appeal by candidates who are trying to attract voters, particularly of those who are yet undecided about their choice.

In capital Kabul, supporters have decorated their cars and shops with posters and portraits of different candidates. Different attraction ways are used in these posters.

For example, one of the two women presidential candidates, Shehla Ata has used photo of former president Mohammad Dawood Khan beside her in the posters.

In most giant portraits on junctions of the city, Abdullah Abdullah, the top rival of incumbent President Karzai, is seen with late Jihadi or resistance leader Ahmed Shah Massoud.

There are different types of posters in different parts of the capital city where the population is divided on ethnic bases.

For instance, posters of President Karzai in the Hazara residing parts of Kabul are with portraits of ethnic leader Mohammad Muhaqiq, who is supporting Karzai.

Similarly, Dr. Abdullah Abdullah’s posters in these areas are with local influential figures, such as Mustafa Kazmi, former Ministry of Economy who was killed in a bomb explosion two years ago, or with Syed Hussian Anwari, former Governor of Herat province.

Meantime, his portraits with Massoud–an ethnic Tajik leader–are mostly in Tajik residing areas of the city.

Vehicles with loudspeakers from campaigners of the candidates are singing songs in favor of their nominees and move around the streets calling upon people to vote.

The last two days were the busiest for the top four candidates as incumbent President Karzai addressed a giant rally in Herat, Abdullah Abdullah visited the Daikundi province of central Afghanistan Hazarajat, while Dr. Ashraf Ghani went to the southern Zabul and Bashardost met supporters in Kabul.

According to the electoral law, the campaign must end at midnight Monday, 48 hours before the voting to be held on Thursday.

Some 17 million Afghans eligible to vote would go to polling stations amid tight security on Aug. 20 as the Taliban insurgents have called on Afghans to boycott the process and vowed to derail the election.


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