2009 Afghanistan presidential election, campaign

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For more information, see: 2009 Afghanistan presidential election.

Afghanistan holds a presidential election every four years, with the 2009 election campaign extended several months to make preparations for the election. Originally scheduled for May, it was rescheduled for August to give time to put some of the mechanics in place. UNAMA, the United Nations Mission to Afghanistan, which was supervising reluctantly accepted this. [1]

The UN Special Representative, Kai Eide, has stressed the importance of this election.

. It is about the legitimacy of leadership.

Therefore, it is critical to ensure a level playing field that can provide the basis for a credible and inclusive election process and a result acceptable to the Afghan people. Nobody's interests can be served by an election result that is disputed and harms the legitimacy of a future government.

The UN has called on all candidates to campaign with dignity and avoid language that is inflammatory and could incite violence. An election campaign will always be divisive. But in this country and at this juncture, it is critically important that the disagreements of the campaign can be followed by unity of purpose in building the country when the next presidential inauguration has taken place. [2]

Main candidates

More than 30 candidates ran, but relatively few had a chance either to win a first-ballot victory, or influence a runoff.

President Vice President Vice President Notes
Hamid Karzai Mohammed Qasim Fahim Karim Khalili Incumbent
Abdullah Abdullah Homayon Shah Asifi Cherag Ali Cheragh
Ashraf Ghani Has been offered Chief Executive Officer by Karzai
Ramazan Bashardost Little chance to win but may draw votes from Karzai; support growing
Shahla Ata Statement of role of women; socialist platforms

Abdullah and Ghani are both technocrats with considerable appeal in the West; Abdullah does have local recognition with a history of fighting the Soviets and Taliban. Bashardost recently polled in 3rd place, ahead of Ghani. [3]

While Afghan polls are not considered especially reliable, two showed, in August 2009: [4]

Source Karzai Abdullah
US government 36% 20%
International Republican Institute 44% 26%