ACSEN voices concern at delay in electoral reforms
KABUL (Pajhwok): The Afghanistan Civil Society and Election Network (ACSEN) on Monday voiced its concern at the selection of the newly-created reform panel members and the delay in initiating the task.
The network welcomed Ashraf Ghani’s decree creating the commission, but said most of its members had been chosen by the president and the chief executive officer (CEO) themselves.
It said civil society activists had been given little representation on the important panel --- something that could compromise impartial decisions.
ACSEN head Jandad Spin Ghar told a news conference here: “A majority of members are related to the president and the CEO and we are concerned the body will be politically influenced and people will not trust it.”
He believed the commission would be unable to bring reforms in line people’s expectations in the current composition. Electoral reforms are part of the national unity government agreement between the president and the CEO.
The 15-member commission is aimed to bring reforms to the electoral system and build people’s trust in the process, law enforcement and prevention of fraud.
Spin Ghar said final decisions from the commission depended on president’s approval, affecting the body’s independence.
Transparent Election Foundation of Afghanistan (TEFA) head Naeem Ayubzada, also a member of ACSEN, said the president’s decree had some problems which needed to be reviewed and corrected.
“I see no clear political will on the part of the government to bring about electoral reforms. It seems difficult to conduct free and fair parliamentary elections, and we are concerned about it,” he remarked.
ACSEN members said the reforms commission should devise its plans that enabled civil society activists and experts to work closely with it and share their suggestions and views.
The commission should also hold public hearings before taking decisions so that people could trust it, the network suggested.
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