Afghanistan Analysts Network – English

AAN in the Media

Stakes High As Afghans Prepare To Cast Presidential Ballots

< 1 min

Radio Free Europe/Radio LIberty, 4 April 2014

RFE/RL's Frud Bezhan quotes AAN's Martine van Bijlert in his pre-election article:

Martine van Bijlert, co-director of the Afghanistan Analysts Network, an independent research organization in Kabul, says that with no clear favorite among the three leading candidates, the election is expected to be the most open and unpredictable since the first democratic election was held in the country in 2004.

"The big difference this election is it's the first time there’s a competition where the field is very open, where it’s not obvious who’s the strongest candidate, and it’s not obvious who is going to win," Van Bijlert says. …

"The candidates are quite similar in the way they have handled their campaigns, which are all strongly patronage-based," Van Bijlert says. "Through the big rallies they try to give an impression of huge momentum and popular backing, but the real campaign is based on gathering as much local support through local influentials as they can — at all levels."