Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, the Hizb-e-Islami leader, who entered a peace deal with the Afghan government in 2016 and returned home after almost 20 years, entered the race for 2019 presidential elections on Saturday.
Fazl Hadi Wazeen, an Islamic studies researcher and a university lecturer, is Hekmatyar’s running mate for first Vice President. Qazi Hafizurrahman Naqi, Hekmatyar’s running mate for second Vice President is an Islamic studies graduate and has worked in the Supreme Court.
Hekmatyar, 69, is the ninth presidential candidate. According to Independent Election Commission’s timeline, the candidates registration process will end on Jan. 20.
So far, Abdul Latif Pedram, Hakim Torsan, Sayed Noorullah Jalili, Enayatullah Hafiz, Zalmai Rassoul, Noorul Haq Ulumi, Faramarz Tamanna, Mohammad Haneef Atmar, and Wali Massoud have entered the race for the presidential elections.
Addressing reporters at the Independent Election Commission on Saturday, Hekmatyar said he is running for president "from an independent address" and that he is not in favor of "forming alliances".
Hekmatyar claimed that “government is the reason behind the ongoing war” in the country. He says “the system must change” but through a peaceful mean.
He said he is against a federal government and that he is not in favor of a semi-presidential system.
The presidential elections are scheduled for July 20.