Nominations kick off Afghan race

AFP-JIJI

Candidate nominations were set to open Monday for Afghanistan’s 2014 presidential election, with a large field expected to register in the race to succeed Hamid Karzai as the U.S.-led war winds down.

The election, due to take place on April 5, will mark Afghanistan’s first ever democratic transfer of power as Karzai steps aside after leading the country since the Taliban hard-line regime was ousted in 2001.

The presidential race, from which Karzai is barred after serving two terms, is seen as the key test of 13 years of bloody international military intervention and billions of dollars of aid.

“So far, 27 people — both individuals and members of parties and coalitions — have collected registration forms for the presidential election,” said Independent Election Commission spokesman Noor Mohammad Noor.

All potential runners must register with the commission before Oct. 6, and a final list of verified candidates will be published on Nov. 16.