2009 Afghanistan presidential election, campaign
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. 
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. 
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. 
While Afghan polls are not considered especially reliable, two showed, in August 2009: 
|International Republican Institute||44%||26%|
- Dexter Filkins (30 January 2009), "Afghan Presidential Election Delayed", New York Times
- Kai Eide (13 July 2009), "UN Envoy Kai Eide On Afghanistan's Critical Election", Radio Free Europe-Radio Liberty
- Jason Motlagh (16 August 2009), "The Don Quixote of Afghanistan: A Long Shot's Quest", Time (magazine)
- Jeremy Page (15 August 2009), "Abdullah Abdullah throws down election gauntlet to President Karzai", The Times