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Afghanistan To Close Nominations For Election

26 July 2004 -- Today is the deadline for candidates to register to run in Afghanistan's presidential election scheduled for 9 October.

Transitional Administration Chairman Hamid Karzai is due to officially announce his candidacy to become Afghanistan's first directly elected leader. Karzai has cancelled a two-day trip to Pakistan scheduled to begin today because of today's registration deadline.

At least 20 other people are expected to challenge Karzai, including General Abdul Rashid Dostum, a powerful regional leader.

Correspondents say much attention today will focus on whom Karzai will choose as his two running mates. Under Afghanistan's recently framed election law, he has to name two vice presidential candidates.