Newly-formed electoral reform panel to meet soon
KABUL (Pajhwok): A member of the newly-constituted Electoral Reform Commission on Monday called their task gigantic, saying the body was duty-bound to identify flaws and gaps in the system and come up with solutions.
Reforms in the electoral system are part of the unity government deal between the president and the chief executive officer. After concerns were raised regarding the absence of a body to overhaul the electoral system, the president issued a decree forming the electoral reform commission two days ago.
The 15-member panel is tasked with introducing reforms to the electoral system, strengthening democratic norms, restoring public’s trust in government institutions and ensuring that the rule of law is respected as their main objectives.
Gul Ahmad Madadzai, a member of the commission, told Pajhwok Afghan News the commission had yet not officially started its activities, but they would hold their maiden session soon.
Under the terms of reference, the commission will arrange its activities in line with the presidential decree, Madadzai said, adding: “The commission is assigned to assess all dimensions of the electoral system including problems in management of the electoral bodies and shortcomings in the electoral law and presenting proposals to the president in this regard.”
Due to various issues in the electoral system, he said, it was not possible to predict a timetable when the commission would complete its tasks. However, he said the commission would complete its activities ahead of the parliamentary elections due in June.
Meanwhile, the Election Watch Afghanistan (EWA) welcomed formation of the commission and hoped it would meet people’s expectations in term of electoral reforms.
But the watchdog casted doubts over professionalism of the selected members, saying relevant observer groups had been ignored in its formation.
In a press release, the organisation said it was concerned the reform process could meet political interferences and subsequently overlooking people’s and civil society’s demands.
EWA suggested that in an attempt to address the problem, the commission should work in close cooperation with civil society groups, especially with electoral watchdogs, and consider their suggestions in the reform process.
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