New poll law approved with changes
The upper house decided the parliament would endorse any delay in the elections, scheduled for May 2014, in case of case of an unfavourable security environment or natural calamity.
In less than a week, the parliament is scheduled to rise for one and a half months summer vacation a week later. In its previous sessions, the upper house approved with some amendments 65 articles of the law.
Having a total of 79 articles and 16 chapters, the Wolesi Jirga -- lower house -- passed the proposed law on May 22 after a long debate before referring it to the Senate.
Over the past 11 years, parliamentary elections have been conducted under legislative decrees, but six months back, the Independent Election Commission (IEC) prepared an amended draft and handed it to the assembly for approval.
Following five days of debate, the Senate adopted the legislative measure. Judicial Commission head Mohiuddin Munsef told Monday’s session the government had suggested a change in the election date at IEC’s recommendation.
The poll panel’s recommendation, based on the government’s suggestion, has to be sanctioned by a committee constituted by President Hamid Karzai. But Munsef explained the article had been struck down.
Of the 85 members present, a majority voted in favour of the Judicial Commission’s view. But the house remained divided on the idea that some Wolesi Jirga seats be reserved for political parties under the draft law.
First Deputy Chairman Mohammad Alam Ezedyar, who chaired the session, a joint panel comprised of members from both houses would be set up to reconcile their differences on certain parts of the law.
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