Electoral system dubbed outdated, undemocratic
KABUL (Pajhwok): Calling the electoral system as completely outdated and undemocratic, legal experts on Thursday said the election law did not differentiate between electoral violations and crimes.
The Electoral Reform Commission has started holding consultative meetings with civil society activists, election observers, women, political parties and the international community about reforms in the electoral system.
As part of these meetings, members of the commission on Thursday held a gathering with lawyers, representatives of the Attorney General’s Office and the Academy of Sciences and listened to their proposals and views in Kabul.
Afghanistan Lawyers Association head Gul Mohammad Madadzai told the gathering that the electoral law and the law on the composition, duty and authority of the election bodies needed to be amended.
He said the two laws did not define electoral crimes which should be told apart from electoral violations in these laws.
He said the appointment of commissioners on the election commission should be legalised under the law on composition, duty and authority of the electoral bodies so that these individuals could be appointed on the basis of their qualifications.
But legal expert Kabir Ranjbar said the parliament could not amend the electoral law under the Constitution. He said Article 103 of the Constitution clearly stated that the Wolesi Jirga could not discuss elections in the last year of its five-year term.
“The electoral system being outdated and undemocratic cannot prove effective in Afghanistan’s current situation. People cannot elect their real representatives to the parliament under the current electoral system,” he said.
Electoral Reform Commission chief Shah Sultan Akefi said all opinions the panel had recorded from people of different walks of life were being studied and those considered beneficial would be included in the commission’s own proposals before presenting them to the president.
He said they had been recording people’s views over the past one week and most proposals were about how to make elections transparent. He said elections could be held in a transparent manner if small constituencies were created.
These proposals also insisted on increased women’s role and particularly women in provinces had the demand that their quota in elections should be increased to 30 percent from the current 20 percent, which had been 25 percent in the previous law, Akefi said.
He said many people had called for a cut in election costs. “Another important topic was to differentiate between electoral violations and electoral crimes which should be defined in the Afghanistan penal code or the electoral law in order to be made prosecutable.”
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