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Either Abdullah or Ghani to face an economy in the doldrums
 
 
 
Either Abdullah or Ghani to face an economy in the doldrums

KABUL- Afghans head to the polls on Saturday for the second time in 10 weeks to elect a president who will take office as most foreign forces prepare to leave after nearly 13 years of inconclusive war.


None of the eight candidates who contested the first round of the election on April 5 won more than 50 percent of the vote meaning the top two contenders have to face off on Saturday.


The two men aiming to succeed President Hamid Karzai, who is constitutionally barred from a third term, are a former foreign minister, Abdullah Abdullah, and an ex-World Bank economist and former finance minister, Ashraf Ghani.


The winner will inherit an unfinished war and an economy in the doldrums.


The Taliban are still strong and Afghanistan's foreign-trained army has never put to rest questions about its effectiveness, especially in the absence of foreign troops, the bulk of whom will leave by the end of the year.


Afghanistan's economy is slowing rapidly and faces the prospect of an international blacklist later this month because of a failure to stem money laundering and terror financing.


Abdullah, a former leader in the anti-Taliban Northern Alliance, won 45 percent of the vote in April while Ghani got 31.6 percent.


But Ghani, an ethnic Pashtun, stands to gain more of the Pashtun vote that was splintered between candidates in the first round.

 
 
 
 
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