An Afghan political party has announced its leader as a candidate for the country's first democratically elected president in the history, sources in Kabul said on Sunday.
Syed Ishay Ghalani, chairman of the National Solidarity Movement of Afghanistan, was nominated by the party as its presidential candidate for the general election expected to be held in the country in June 2004, a party official told Xinhua.
The party has announced the decision in a statement issued on Saturday, the official said.
It was the first time that a political party in Afghanistan announced its candidate for the presidency for the 2004 general election, which will elect a new government to replace the current transitional one headed by President Hamid Karzai.
Ghalani, a renowned political figure and a veteran journalist, lived in Peshawar, Pakistan, for several years after the Taliban came to power in Afghanistan in 1996.
Under the Bonn agreement reached between different factions after the Taliban's ouster in 2001, a general election will be held eight months after a new constitution is adopted later this year.
Rumors here said that former president Burhandin Rabani, the nominal leader of the Northern Alliance which dominates the transitional government, and a grandson of former King Zahir Shah have intention to compete for the presidency, but have not announced their candidacies officially.
There is no law in the country to govern activities of political parties as the transitional government said such a law could only be enacted after the adoption of a new constitution.
However, some political parties led by leading mujahidins, or holy fighters, who gained their fame during the resistance war against the Soviet occupation in the 1980s, and liberal Afghans who returned from western countries recently, are actively preparing for the general election, observers here said.