Top election officials’ defiance angers MPs
KABUL (Pajhwok): The Wolesi Jirga on Wednesday asked the president to explain why top officials of the two electoral commissions had refused to brief lawmakers on allegations of widespread fraud in provincial council polls.
The lower house of parliament expressed its displeasure over the negative response to summons from the top officials of the Independent Election Commission (IEC) and Independent Electoral Complaints Commission (IECC).
In response to Wolesi Jirga summons, IEC Deputy Chairman Abdur Rahman Hotaki appeared before parliamentarians and offered to answer their queries on the hot issue. However, the legislators said he was not the right person to brief them.
As the chairmen of the electoral bodies stayed away, the lawmakers unanimously demanded amendments to the law on the commissions’ composition and duties so as to curtail the tenure of commissioners.
Earlier, Deputy Minister of Parliamentary Affairs Mohammad Karim Baz explained IECC Chairman Abdul Sattar had been to the United States on an official trip and hence his absence.
But an irate Wolesi Jirga member Kunduz province, Abdul Wadood Paiman, replied: “Sadat is not on an official visit to the US. He is there to stash away the money (bribes) received during the elections.” He opposed referring the fraud issue to the Attorney-General Office (AGO).
But a woman public representative from the same province, Nilofar Ibrahimi, insisted on referring IEC/IECC authorities to AGO for prosecution. She sought legal action against the election officials for doctoring the provincial council results in return for bribes.
Deputy Speaker Siddique Osmani the electoral commissions’ flawed strategy had made the polls a failure, earning Afghanistan a bad name at the international level. “The two commissions had failed a number deserving candidates and vice versa. They should be prosecuted,” he believed.
Speaker Abdul Rauf Ibrahimi ruled today’s session had been devoted to a thorough debate on an issue of national importance. Chairmen of both bodies should have turned up to answer lawmakers’ queries, he said.
Ibrahimi ruled: “The president should tell us why they failed to turn up and why they defying the Wolesi Jirga summons.” He suggested electoral irregularities of criminal nature be referred to AGO and the part of the election law concerning commissioners’ tenure be amended.
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