Saturday, September 18, 2010

Happy Election Day

It's Parliamentary Election Day here in Afghanistan. Your correspondent's day job has focused pretty heavily on elections recently, so it's gratifying to see the day arrive, although we'll see how it goes before we pop any champagne.

Election advertising here is not too different from Guatemala: Without fail, a serious-looking portrait of the candidate, clearly without the help of the squadron of personal stylists any American candidate would hire before putting his face on a billboard.

The ballots here also feature pictograms to help identify who you're voting for. In Guatemala, there was a strong party system, so you just had to remember your party's logo. In Afghanistan, there are literally thousands of candidates, few of whom have any party affiliation. Any province's ballot will have tens of candidates on the ballot - each with their own personal symbol. Your correspondent saw the examples from one province, and honestly I'm not sure they're that helpful - did I mean to vote for the guy with three goats as his symbol, or two goats? Was it the guy with two jugs or two vases? (You can see examples of the logos - on the far right of the billboard in the first picture, four clusters of flower pots; in the last picture, of a business card size advertisement your correspondent found in the Embassy Airways waiting area (?) the logo is on the left - perhaps four stomachs?) Anyway, I hope the logos work for their actual intended audience.

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