Election watchdogs doubt reform implementation
KABUL (Pajhwok): Election watchdogs on Monday welcomed the Electoral Reform Commission (ERC)’s suggestions about reforms in the electoral system, but called their implementation as difficult in the current circumstances.
Mohamamd Naeem Ayoubzada, the Transparent Election Foundation of Afghanistan (TEFA) chief, told Pajhwok Afghan News they welcomed the ERC’s suggestions, although incomplete and had their own flaws.
He said two suggestions about rearrangement of voter lists and distribution of computerised identity cards seemed not possible to be materialised in a short time.
The TEFA chief said if the government was not in a position to distribute the computerised identity cards then it should come with an alternate plan to make the upcoming elections transparent.
Mohammad Yusuf Rashid, the Free and Fair Election Foundation of Afghanistan (FEFA) head, praised the ERC work and said the commission had been able to meet its task in a short span of time.
He said the ERC suggestions were mostly positive and their implementation would help execute transparent elections in the country.
Rashid expressed his concern over the decreased number of commissioners on electoral bodies, saying every commissioner had his own responsibilities and the move raised questions that who would discharge the duty of the removed officials.
The reform panel, after month-long discussions with political parties, civil society activists and people of the all zones, submitted its proposals to Chief Executive Officer Abdullah Abdullah on Sunday.
Some of the major suggestions include registration of voters, making the election bodies accountable, the presence of two foreigners in the Independent Election Complaints Commission (IECC), reservation of one seat at the Wolesi Jirga for Hindu minority, identification and shrinking of the constituencies.
Other proposals include distribution of the computerised Identity cards, a 25 percent representation of women in provincial and district councils and invalidation of the current voter cards.
The ERC has also suggested that the number of Independent Election Commission (IEC) commissioners should be reduced from the current nine to seven and the IECC members from seven to five.
Rashid said preferring specialization over education was helpful and giving 25 percent representation to women in the provincial councils was another positive proposal.
But he said there existed some issues in the draft proposals which could raise concerns and their implementation could create problems.
Switching to the parallel voting from the non-transferable vote system would be better but it was not implementable due to the short time in the lead up to the Wolesi Jirga elections, he said.
Meanwhile, Afghanistan Democracy Watch (ADW) head Zikerya Barakzai also said the parallel voting had positive aspects.
But he said it was hard to implement the system because all political parties would be required to provide a list of their 80 members which was not possible.
According to Barakzai, the registration of voters in a particular polling station before elections would be an expensive exercise which might not be implementable.
He said the permanent status of IECC was a waste of money and resources because the IECC had no duty when there was no election.
He believed creating constituencies in line with the population was not possible because this required the exact number of population which was not available.
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