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Wednesday, April 7, 2010 as of 11:14 AM ET

Foreign Policy

Mal James

London

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Afghanistan Elections 2009

July 30, 2009 - 11:40 AM | by: Mal James

Afghanistan Elections 2009 – Face book & Twitter Join the Race

Social networking and the power of online campaigning have entered the Presidential race here in Afghanistan. Leading candidates from the President, Hamid Karzai to Dr Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani, two of the closest potential runners, have entered the world of cyber campaigning.

However the problem here in Afghanistan is that less than 10% of the population, somewhere between 26 and 30 million have reliable and constant electricity nationwide, Computers and the Internet are not common appliances.

With the Election only three weeks away, August 20. Candidates are nonetheless turning to Face book and Twitter. Though it appears fans are hard to win here. On President Karzai’s Face book page he has 528 fans.

Leading challengers Ashraf Ghani, 831 fans, and with a commanding lead Dr Abdullah Abdullah 1221 followers.

When President Obama tweets on his twitter 1,800,000 people receive the latest, here when Ashraf Ghani tweets approx 70 people get the latest update.

Last month during the Iran Presidential Elections, the world followed events on Social Networking Sites. Next month Afghanistan steps up to the plate and Spin-doctors in Kabul will be clicking away on their laptops keeping the fans up to date, even if only in a small way.