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Teachers: Citizenship: Electoral Systems

Last Updated: Monday September 19 2005 15:31 GMT

Worksheet: Cartoons in Afghan elections

Election workers load ballot boxes onto a donkey in Afghanistan
Voters in Afghanistan picked who they wanted to run the country with the help of cartoon symbols.

The pictures were there to make the process easier for more than 12 million voters who had 5,800 possible leaders, or candidates, to chose from.

The voting slips contained each of the candidates' names, their photographs and a cartoon symbol representing them.

One reason for this was to make it easier to tell the massive number of candidates apart.

Another reason is that lots of people in Afghanistan can't read or write.

2,800 parliamentary candidates
3,000 candidates for 34 local councils
About 25% of seats reserved for women
26,000 polling stations
Final result due 22 October


One candidate, Mohammad Isaq, used the symbol of a deer.

Other symbols included a cassette, a TV, a football and a cricket bat, which were previously banned in Afghanistan.

Previous rulers

From the mid-1990s to 2001, the country was run by a group called the Taleban who banned television, radio, music and education for women.

The recent elections, on Sunday 18 September 2005, are being seen a move away from such control from years of war in the country.

But six people were killed during attacks, which have been largely blamed on supporters of the Taleban, who are against the election.

Double election

An Afghan woman casts her ballot at a polling station
Voters took part in two elections: One for the people they wanted to run the country and another for the people they wanted to be in charge of local areas.

It is the first national government and local council elections for more than 30 years.

The final results are due in late October.

Questions and activities

1. Write down the meaning, or definition, of these words:

  • election
  • local council election
  • national government election
  • candidate
  • polling station
  • voting slip or ballot paper
2. How many candidates were there in the recent elections in Afghanistan?

3. What information was contained on the voting slips or ballot papers in Afghanistan?

4. Why were cartoon pictures used? Give two reasons.

5. List four objects that were previously banned in Afghanistan.

6. Who banned these objects?

7. When was power taken from the Taleban, following a US-led war?

8. How many years ago did Afghanistan hold national government and local council elections?

9. When are the election results due to be announced?

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