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Backgrounder: Leading candidates in Afghan election
www.chinaview.cn 2004-10-07 15:58:20

Related: Profile: Karzai, the man tipped to be Afghan elected president

    KABUL, Oct. 7 (Xinhuanet) -- Following are brief profiles of the leading candidates in Afghanistan's first direct presidential election to be held on Saturday.     

Afghan President Hamid Karzai (C) waves to supporters while arriving at an electoral rally at Kabul stadium, 06 October 2004. Meanwhile, two people were killed when a bomb exploded at a rally held by Afghan President Hamid Karzai 's running mate in northern Afghanistan. (Xinhua/AFP Photo Emmanuel DUNAND)

    Hamid Karzai

    A Pashtun from southern Kandahar, Karzai is the favorite to winthe poll. Good at reconciling various ethnic groups and factions, he has generally won support and trust of the Afghan public and the international community. He was installed as leader of the interim government after the US-led Afghan war and now serves as head of the transitional government.     

    Yunus Qanooni

    Karzai's former education minister, Qanooni is seen as Karzai'sstrongest rival. The 47-year-old Tajik is supported by Defense Minister Mohammed Fahim and Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah, both fellow Tajiks. Qanooni was a senior anti-Taliban Northern Alliance leader. He draws substantial support in the Panjshir valley, a Northern Alliance stronghold north of Kabul.     

    Abdul Rashid Dostum

    General Dostum, 50, is an ethnic Uzbek commander with a stronghold in northern areas. The former warlord in the country's civil wars could secure votes from fellow Uzbeks.     

    Mohammed Mohaqeq

    Mohaqeq, 49, served as vice president and planning minister in Karzai's interim government before being sacked. A leader of the Hazara ethnic minority, he draws wide support from Hazara clansmenof central Afghanistan.     

    Abdul Latif Pedram

    An ethnic Tajik, Pedram fled the Taliban regime in 1997 and took refuge in France. He is a professor of oriental studies and apoet. The 41-year-old poet returned home this year to run for president with no power base.     

    Massooda Jalal

    Jalal, the only woman candidate, once challenged Karzai for thetransitional leadership in 2002. Few expect the 41-year-old Tajik doctor to make serious challenge in Saturday's poll.     

    Abdul Satar Sirat

    Sirat was widely tipped to become head of the interim government after the fall of the Taliban in late 2001, but later Karzai was chosen thanks to US support. He is a former aid to the former king.     

    Abdul Hafiz Mansoor

    Mansoor served as acting minister of information and culture and head of State TV and Radio immediately after the fall of the Taliban. The 41-year-old ethnic Tajik accuses Karzai of trying to install elected dictatorship. Enditem

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