Kabul — Doctor Ramazan Bashardost has initiated his campaign for Afghanistan’s September 2009 presidential elections, fully harnessing online and offline means of outreach.
The hard-hitting political maverick has launched his campaign with a rudimentary website and a Youtube video (embedded below), in addition to distributing posters and using public announcement systems in cities in Afghanistan.
In his Youtube video, he criticizes the current political establishment, and asks the people to ‘help out’ in choosing his vice presidents and laying out his election platform. His video is in Dari and Pashto. Referring to his staunchly independent position and non-elitist attitude, Bashardost says in his video he does not belong to the “tribe of Land Cruisers and the Party of Dollars and Rupees.”
However, he plans to raise campaign donations “only from the people.”
He has also started using automobile units with public announcement systems campaigning for him in the streets of Kabul. His posters have be seen in parts of some towns and cities across Afghanistan.
Meanwhile, Dr. Bashardost’s supporters have also launched a website (link opens in new window). The website aims to reach out to the people across the country as well as around the world. They also hope to solicit campaign contributions for his campaign.
Dr. Bashardost’s campaign is one of the earliest — if not the earliest — in this election cycle, starting months ahead of the September elections. However, there are doubts over whether elections will take place at all, given the current security situation of the country.
Other candidates who have expressed intentions to run include, among others, former attorney general Abduljabbar Sabit, Peer Syed Ahmad Gilani, Younis Qanooni, Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai, Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, Dr. Anwarulhaq Ahadi, Zalmai Khalilzad, and President Karzai. No other Hazara candidate has expressed a desire to run in the elections so far.
Dr. Bashardost, however, is striving to bolster his image as a national candidate, representing the people rather than one group or party. His platform so far includes infrastructure development, fight against poverty and illiteracy, promotion of justice, trial of human rights violators and war criminals and promotion of civil liberties.
He has a Ph.D. in political science and law, as well as graduate and postgraduate degrees in diplomacy, political science and law.
Bashardost’s campaign video: