Wolesi Jirga a step away from being illegal
KABUL (Pajhwok): Legal experts on Wednesday said it would be against the Constitution if the current parliament make-up continued beyond June 22 when it mandate expires and its decisions would have no legal basis.
The Wolesi Jirga or the lower house of parliament’s tenure will officially end on June 22 and elections for the body should already have taken place under Article 83 of the Constitution.
The lack of funds has been cited by the election commission as a major reason to defer the ballot for an unknown period.
Some lawyers said the Wolesi Jirga’s make-up would have no legitimacy and legal justification to continue beyond June 22.
Ajmal Hodman, the Afghanistan Lawyers Association head, told Pajhwok Afghan News the Article 83 made it all clear on the subject and there was no need for further research.
“Time specification in the article does not mean the house can continue if elections are not held.”
He added some people argued the house could continue beyond June 22 for their personal interests.
Hodman said the delay in holding the elections was itself a violation of the law. “If the lower house continues, it will be a violation of the Constitution.
“No organistaion or person even the president has the authority to extend the mandate of the Wolesi Jirga,” said the lawyer, who added decisions of the house would be illegal beyond its term.
Gul Ahmad Madadzai, the lawyers’ association’s deputy head, said if the parliamentary elections took place and the result was delayed, in that case, the Wolesi Jirga could continue with its work.
He said now that no dates had been set for the ballot, the Wolesi Jirga could not continue beyond the term.
“There is no alternate option except elections which should have taken place and there is also no other legislative organisation to legitimise the Wolesi Jirga’s work.”
Madadzai said the unity government was itself extra-constitutional and if the Wolesi Jirga also continued beyond its tenure, it would add to the people’s problems.
Lower house speaker Abdul Rauf Ibrahimi had said the house’s term would expire only when the election result was announced and new lawmakers started their work.
He had added the house had been elected with legitimacy votes of people and no organisation could question its legitimacy beyond June 22.
Fazl Hadi Muslimyar, the Meshrano Jirga or senate chairman, on Tuesday said if a date for the next elections was specified, the incumbent lower house could continue with its job, otherwise its continuation was illegal.
Mohammad Yousuf Rashid, the Free and Fair Election Foundation of Afghanistan (FEFA) executive director, voiced his concerns about the delay in holding the parliamentary vote and ambiguity about electoral reforms. He urged the government to declare the elections date in order to assuage people’s rising concerns.
He added there was no excuse with the lower house to continue its work beyond June 22 and the president as head of all the three pillars of the state should find a solution to the problem.
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