Abdullah Gets Key Endorsements for Afghan Presidential Runoff

Endorsements Aim to Shore Up Pashtun Vote

Frontrunner Abdullah Abdullah made a major step forward toward securing the Afghan presidency today with the formal endorsements of two of the key runners up for the upcoming run-off against Ashraf Ghani.

The big endorsement came from Zalmai Rassoul, who came in a strong third place in the first round of voting, though the endorsement of Gul Agha Sherzai, the former Kandahar Governor, may be even more important is closing the gap in Pashtun votes.

Abdullah is half-Pashtun and half-Tajik, and has struggled to win votes in the southern Pashtun provinces over Ghani, who is fully ethnic Pashtun. Rassoul and Sherzai’s endorsements could close that gap.

How much of the vote the endorsements can bring over to Abdullah’s side remains to be seen, but with 45% of the first round vote, even half of Rassoul’s vote would be enough to give him a majority win.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.