‘Consultations on electoral reforms beneficial’
JALALABAD (Pajhwok): Electoral Reform Commission officials said on Monday that consultations at provincial and regional levels on the electoral system’s technical and legal aspects had started producing good results.
Shah Mahmood Miakhel, a member of the commission, told a gathering in eastern Nangarhar province that they would start working on an organised policy for the electoral process following consultations at provincial levels.
The gathering in Jalalabad was attended by tribal elders, religious figures, provincial and high peace councils’ members who also floated their suggestions.
The participants demanded changes in the electoral system’s technical and legal areas and the appointment of eligible individuals as provincial Independent Election Commission heads.
Miakehl, who headed a delegation, told the gathering: “We have been assigned the task to record people’s views on provincial level about reforms in the electoral system.”
He said the Electoral Reform Commission would benefit from people’s views in its meetings to prepare a policy and strategy about reforms.
He said the panel was working to resolve problems in the electoral system’s technical and legal areas.
“We have been thinking what we should do in the first phase for a short period as parliamentary elections are before us. Then we have presidential election and in the third phase it will be mulled over how to permanently overhaul the system and prevent irregularities forever.”
Earlier, Nangarhar Governor Salim Khan Kunduzi urged the gathering to share their views with the visiting delegation in order problems in the electoral system could be addressed.
“You witnessed problems and irregularities in the previous elections. Therefore, your proposals are essential for reforms,” the governor told the participants.
Provincial council member Humira Rafi said a policy should be adopted for the picture-less female voter cards. She said powerful individuals used to print such cards on Election Day to stuff ballot boxes.
Such electoral fraud created insecurity and questioned the vote’s credibility, she added. She also said populations in districts should be made known and constituencies be created for elections.
Religious scholar Maulvi Abdul Zahir Haqqani accused the government and the election commission of committing fraud in the previous elections and thus disrespecting people’s mandate.
He said basic reforms should be brought to the electoral system in order to restore people’s trust that their votes were respected.
The Electoral Reform Commission’s delegation is expected to hold consultations with different political and civil society groups on how to improve the electoral system.
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