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Public reps stick to their guns on changes to election law

Public reps stick to their guns on changes to election law

Jan 28, 2015 - 21:30

KABULinfo-icon (Pajhwok): The Wolesi Jirgainfo-icon on Wednesday renewed its pose on making bachelor’s degree mandatory for becoming a member of parliament (MP) or having the experience of serving as public representative for at least one legislative term.

The lower house also decided votes cast during parliamentary polls should be counted inside same polling centre. Everyone seeking election from one legislative post to another should resign from the first seat.

Additionally, the assembly extended the period of registering complaints with the election watchdog to 96 hours from 48 hours. The house had approved the same changes to the election law few months ago, but they were rejected by the Meshrano Jirgainfo-icon.

Under the Constitution, if a proposal is rejected by either house, a joint commission is set up resolve the issue and the bill after being signed by the president becomes a law.

However, if the joint commission fails to sort out differences, the bill is considered null and void, but under the same clause, the lower house can approve a controversial law with a two-thirds majority without approving it from the upper house.

On Wednesday, the legislative commission presented before the house these and some other amendments to the election law.

Nazir Ahmad Hanafi, the panel head, said the upper house had rejected the lower house’s proposals that an MP should have at least bachelor’s degree or experience of a legislative period.

The Senate had also rejected the proposal that votes should be counted inside the same polling centre and the proposal that a copy of the results should be pasted on ballot boxes and a copy given to candidate having collected the most votes at the same polling centre.

He said the proposal included giving a copy of results to the Independent Electoral Complaints Commission and gluing a copy on the polling centre’s wall.

He said the Wolesi Jirga had decided that complaints should be registered with the electoral watchdog within 96 hours instead of 48 hours, but it had also been rejected by the Meshrano Jirga.

Hanafi said the joint commission had failed to resolve the controversy and the proposals were once again brought to the house for approval. Of the 243 MPs present, 240 approved the house’s previous decisions.

Under Article 109 of the Constitution, the lower house cannot include proposals for amendments to the electoral law in its working agenda during the last year of the legislative term, but lawmakers insisted the amendments had been approved before.


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