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Poll watchdogs insist on reform panel’s impartiality

Poll watchdogs insist on reform panel’s impartiality

Jul 23, 2015 - 18:01

KABULinfo-icon (Pajhwok): Election watchdogs on Thursday said the Electoral Reform Commission would not be effective if influenced by the government.

Established through a presidential decree issued on the eve of Eidul Fitr, the commission formally launched its activities on Wednesday.

Election Watch Afghanistaninfo-icon (EWA) and New Line Organization officials told a joint press conference in Kabul that the electoral system could not be reformed with theories, but with practical measures.

EWA head Shah Mahmoud Mal said the reform panel should review technical and legal problems in the system.

He said political interferences marred previous elections and major reasons behind fraud should be identified and addressed through a mechanism,.

Mal said the government had set the Electoral Reform Commission a three-month deadline to come up with a framework for reforms. He said three months were not enough to review and prepare a reform plan.

NLO head Fahim Seddiqi said most members of the reform body were affiliated with the two leaders of the unity government, something election observers were concerned about.

He said the panel’s composition raised questions about government’s sincerity in bringing reforms to the electoral regime.

The election observers floated suggestions and asked the reform panel members to ignore their political affiliations and focus on improving the system.

They issued a joint statement that asked the commission to be impartial and share their performance reports with the media and people.

Also on Thursday, the reform commission’s deputy head told reporters that they would not work in favour or against any political group and if any such activities were found, the people would be informed about that.


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