Prez Hopefuls Offer Change Afghanistan Can Believe In

Candidates mimic Obama campaign
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 12, 2009 7:25 AM CDT
Supporters of Abdullah Abdullah cheers as they listen his speech during his election campaign rally in Jaghuri district in Ghazi province, Afghanistan, Tuesday, Aug 11, 2009.   (AP Photo/Rafiq Maqbool)
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(Newser) – Which presidential candidate has a lock on the words "hope" and "change"? These days, it's Afghan challenger Abdullah Abdullah, whose Obamaesque website—complete with scrolling news feeds, photo and video galleries, and social networking links—exhorts voters to "join the campaign to change Afghanistan." As the Hill reports, he's just one of several candidates in next week's vote to use last year's US race as an online template.

Ashraf Ghani, another main challenger, tells voters to "hope for change" on his own website, which links to a slick, English-language YouTube channel. Ghani, Abdullah, and Hamid Karzai himself all have Facebook pages alongside their websites, and several candidates have unofficial pages as well. While Internet use is climbing in Afghanistan, the literacy rate is only 28% and most of the country's 33 million have no access at all.