4 October 2004 -- Only two of the 18 candidates registered to compete in the 9 October presidential election in Afghanistan showed up today for a scheduled public debate.
Afghan interim President Hamid Karzai did not come to the debate and neither did his strongest rival in elections, former Interior and Education Minister Yunos Qanuni.
Only Abdul Satar Sirat and Wakil Mangul, six presidential running mates, and one candidate's representative took part in the debate that focused on corruption, war crimes, and the future of the country.
Fewer than 100 people turned up to watch the debate live, sponsored by the Afghanistan Foundation for Culture and Civil Society.
(AFP)[For more on the Afghan elections, see RFE/RL and Radio Free Afghanistan's dedicated webpage "Afghanistan Votes 2004-05."]