Karzai signs electoral bill into law
KABUL (PAN): President Hamid Karzai on Wednesday signed into law a bill regarding the structure, duties and powers of the Independent Election Commission (IEC) and the Electoral Complaints Commission (ECC).
On Monday, a joint commission of both houses of parliament approved the bill with some amendments after a prolonged debate.
Nazir Ahmad Hanafi, who headed the 14-member delegation, said the joint commission was established to resolve differences between the two houses on some clauses.
Most members agreed to set aside 20 percent of seats for women on provincial, district and village councils, according to Hanafi, who said 25 percent of seats had been reserved for females in the original draft.
The delegation rejected the reservation of a seat for the Hindu minority and approved seven constituencies for the nomadic Kuchi tribe instead of 10. Hanafi said the law would be sent to the Presidential Palace on Tuesday.
A bill, giving the ECC more power and independence, was also passed. The five-member ECC, having no foreign members, will be an all-Afghan body with authority to annul fraudulent votes and announce the final election outcome.
Under Article 64 of the constitution, the joint delegation approved and sent the five-chapter bill, having 35 articles, to the president. The head of state signed the bill into a law, his office said.
Karzai also appointed a committee under Article 8 of the law to speed up the election process and ensure transparency in the democratic exercise.
Scheduled to hold its inaugural meeting on Thursday, the body is composed of parliamentary speakers, the Chief Justice and others officials, including civil society leaders.
The body will elect its chief and recommend 27 candidates within a week to the president, who will choose 15 of them.
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