Candidates pick their ballot numbers

21 Jun 2009

Candidates pick their ballot numbers

KABUL - Presidential and provincial candidates for the forthcoming elections were today given their positions on the ballot paper.

Candidates or their representatives picked out chits with a given number from a box, in a ceremony that was conducted by the Independent Election Commission in Kabul.

President Hamid Karzai will be placed at number 37 on the ballot paper.

His challengers Dr Ashraf Ghani and another candidate Dr Abdullah Abdullah secured numbers 14 and 39, respectively.

“We had invited the candidates and their representatives for the ballot-lottery which were conducted for, both, the presidential and provincial lists. Members of the Independent Election Commission (IEC), the Electoral Complaints Commission (ECC), embassies, and election observer organisations were also requested to attend,” said Mohammad Farid Afghanzai, Head of the IEC’s External Relations Department.

Leading presidential candidates didn’t appear for the ballot but not all candidates failed to show up.

Zabiullah Ghazi Nuristani, an independent candidate from Nuristan province, who came all the way to Kabul, however, failed to get the coveted number one spot.

“I was hoping to get it. But, I got number eight. It’s still a good number,” he exclaimed.

It must be noted that these numbers could change by Saturday itself, when the IEC announces a final list of candidates for the presidential and provincial elections.

“The rumour is that two or three presidential candidates could be disqualified, so the number of candidates will drop on the list,” said a political analyst who did not want to be named.

According to Mr Afghanzai, if any names are dropped from the current list of 44 presidential candidates, then, the position of the candidates on the ballot paper will be adjusted.

By Aditya Mehta, UNAMA

Website: Independent Election Commission of Afghanistan