Karzai favorite in pre-election poll

Other News Materials 17 June 2009 16:29 (UTC +04:00)

Incumbent Afghan President Hamid Karzai is presently ahead of his rivals in the country's presidential race, a new survey reports.

Afghanistan's capital, Kabul, was blanketed by Karzai's oversized posters on Tuesday as the two-month presidential campaign kicked off, Press TV reported.

While Afghans on the street openly complain about Karzai's rule, a new survey showed he is likely to win a second term as his opponents have almost no support, the Boston Herald wrote.

The poll found that 31 percent of the 3,200 Afghans surveyed said they would vote for Karzai if the August 20 presidential election were held today -- a steep decline from the 55 percent of Afghans whose votes gave him a five-year term in 2004.

Nearly 69 percent of the respondents had a favorable opinion of Karzai, and 43 percent of the likely voters said he deserved a second term.

Only 7 percent of the respondents said they would vote for Karzai's closet competitor, former foreign minister Abdullah Abdullah. The next strongest opponent, former finance minister Ashraf Ghani had just 4 percent support.

The poll, based on face-to-face interviews, was conducted in May and funded by the International Republican Institute, a non-governmental organization that receives funding from USAID, the US government aid arm.

Campaigning got off to a slow start Tuesday, with Karzai in Russia and Abdullah not appearing in public. Ghani, however, held a rally under a colorful tent.