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Jirga Looks To Narrow Candidates Field, IEC Cautions

A Jirga titled "Rapport Between Candidates" has been organized and recently indicated that negotiations were taking place between unspecified Presidential candidates regarding the possibility of resigning in favor of a few frontrunners.

With only a couple weeks remaining before the start of campaigning, any abrupt changes to the 11-ticket contenders would likely reflect more drawn out discussions and strategizing that have taken place since the final list of candidates was released in mid November.

"There is some hope that a number of candidates will step down in favor of other recognized candidates, and that only four or five candidates will compete in the elections," Jirga member Moeen Marastyal said.

Marastyal and others refused to provide any specifics as to what candidates had been involved in negotiations, or who might be involved in any consolidations.

A number of Presidential candidates confirmed the talks, but said that no agreement had yet been made.

Meanwhile, the Independent Election Commission (IEC) said the window for resigning and aligning with another candidate has already closed, and that it would be impossible for a candidate to officially throw his electoral net worth in favor of another at this point.

"Candidates may unite or join a coalition unofficially, but they can't do so officially, because their pictures and names have been printed on the ballot papers so their votes won't be counted for who they resigns for," IEC Secretariat Chief Zia-ul-Haq Amarkhail said. "It would have been fine if they had done it before November 11."

In past elections, some candidates waited until the day of the elections to resign from the race and dedicate all their votes to another candidate's cause. The IEC looked to prevent that from happening this year by setting an early November deadline for official realignments.

Friday, 24 January 2014, TOLO News

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