| ||Ghani formally launches quest for presidency |
By Hassan Khitab
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KABUL - On the last date of the three-week registration drive, two more candidates on Sunday formally registered for next year's presidential polls, taking the number of runners to 11.
Accompanied by dozens of his supporters, including MPs and members of the Right and Justice party, Dr. Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai filed his nomination papers with the Independent Elections Commission (IEC) in the morning.
He has picked up the Junbish-i-Millie party chief, Abdul Rashid Dostum, as his first vice-president and ex-minister of higher education Sarwar Danish as his second VP.
Former minister of interior, Hanif Atmar, Moeen Mrastial, Wolesi Jirga members Zahir Qadir, Hameedzai Lalai, Asadullah Sadati and Naqibullah Fayed were among those present on the occasion.
Briefly speaking to journalists, Ghani said: “I believe we will succeed in the upcoming presidential election. I challenge other candidates to a debate at the hustings. We will go to districts and remote villages.”
If elected, the former finance minister promised he would include failed candidates in his team. He suggested the formation of a broadly-based national government and consensus on key issues.
Ghani added: “We will not be able to achieve peace, stability and reform as long as our policy is not based on realism, justice and equality.”
Ghani resigned as chairman of Transition Coordination Commission (TCC) and Gen. Abdul Rashid Dostum as Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman last week. Ghani was a rival of President Hamid Karzai in the previous vote.
Separately, Dr. Sarwar Ahmadzai filed his nomination papers with the IEC. He pledged to create employment opportunities for youth, ensure peace and bring unity to the country. He has chosen Dr. Abdul Rahman as his first VP and Kabir Quraishi as second.
Dr. Abdullah, Abdul Rab Rasul Sayyaf, Abdul Rahim Wardak, Bismillah Sher, Hashmat Ghani Ahmadzai, Qutbuddin Hilal, Syed Eshaq Gilani and Fazal Karim Najimi have already jumped into the fray.
Since the nomination process started on Sept. 16, 73 individuals including three women have so far received information kits on presidential elections.