Elections sans reforms meaningless: Reform panel
KABUL (Pajhwok): The Electoral Reform Commission on Thursday said holding parliamentary elections before bringing reforms to the system would be meaningless.
Speaking to reporters here, Sidiqullah Tawhidi, the panel’s deputy head, said the commission was not an advisory body and that its members had been divided into two groups.
The first group would recommend amendments to the election law and the second would work on the structure, responsibilities and powers of electoral bodies.
He said members of the commission would introduce new ways on how to prevent fraud and rigging in parliamentary, presidential, provincial and district council elections.
Earlier, the Electoral Reform Commission formally started its work on Wednesday, when Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Abdullah Abdullah said the panel would not be a symbolic body because the unity government remained committed to electoral reforms.
Electoral reforms are a major point of the US-brokered agreement between President Ashraf Ghani and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Abdullah Abdullah on a national unity government.
Four months back, lawmaker Shukria Barakzai was appointed by President Ghani to head the electoral reform panel but the CEO disagreed with her appointment. On the eve of Eid, President Ghani decreed establishing the commission and appointing its members.
Shah Sultan Akefi is the head, Sediqullah Tawhidi his deputy, Kawoon Kakar, Mohammad Ali Amiri, Abdul Qadeer Karyab, Bashir Farooq, Asadullah Sadati, Faizullah Zaki, Saleh Mohammad Regestani, Shah Mahmood Mia Khail, Sabrina Saqeb, Dr. Alema, Abdul Majid Ghanizada and Tadamichi Yamamoto are members of the panel.
Akefi promised they would try and listen to views from different segments of society and even leaders of the government to incorporate them in reforms. He said they would also study international experiences and would take them into consideration in the reform process.
Tadamichi Yamamoto, UN Secretary-General’s deputy special representative for Afghanistan and a member of the commission, said UNAMA was proud to be part of the panel and considered it a major step toward restoring people’s trust in the electoral process.
“We believe the commission would utilise this opportunity well and with its efforts would make the electoral process very strong,” Yamamoto said UNAMA’s role in the commission would be advisory and would not have the right to vote despite attending all meetings.
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