Candidates for Wolesi Jirga seats in Kabul

Despite Taliban threats dissuading Afghan people from participating in the elections, on September 18th, 2010, Afghanistan held their second Wolesi Jirga election. The Wolesi Jirga (or “House of the People”) is like the Afghan parliament. The Jirga members’ primary responsibilities are ratifying laws and approving the actions of the president. They represent different districts within the 34 provinces that make up Afghanistan.

Candidates vying for seats in the Wolesi Jirga use many different tactics to attract public attention. Over the summer I visited Kabul and saw posters of all shapes, sizes and colors strewn across buildings, fences cars and utility poles; and even on top of advertisements and other campaign posters!

How are all these candidates positioning themselves to the general public? Below are a few descriptions of the different candidates’ campaign posters who ran for seats in Kabul.

The intent of these pictures is to demonstrate the positioning of each candidate visa-vie each other via a description their election posters.

These posters all have a few things in common. They all contain a picture of the candidate, their name, their voting number and their voting symbol. This symbol helps illiterate voters identify their candidate of choice. In addition to these bits of information, candidates also use the following phrases to distinguish themselves and communicate their message to their target audience:

Hajji Khan Jan

This candidate is calling for civil rights and equality among all people and says that he will work to build a better Afghanistan.

Rubina Jalali

The Afghan constitution guarantees that at least 64 delegates will be female. In this poster, Ms. Jalali is calling for justice, wellbeing and development in Afghanistan, as well as social security for all Afghans. In this way, she is appealing to those that need social security—most often women and the disabled. The Olympic rings in the upper left hand corner also indicates that she is appealing to the young through sports.

Hajji Quadrat Allah

This candidate’s name translates roughly into the power of God. He appeals to religion in his poster by saying that, if he is elected, he will protect Islam. He also mentions that he will bring justice to Afghanistan.

Syed Mohammed Khalb Zui

While the previous candidates on this page indicate they are Sunni by the title Hajji, combined with the black turban, the title Syed indicates that this candidate is Shia. He states his goal is to serve his country.

On October 30th, the final Wolesi Jirga election results are scheduled to be released.