Ghani lauds ERC's job, seeks insight into election dates
KABUL (Pajhwok): President Ashraf Ghani on Thursday praised the performance of the Election Reform Commission (ERC) members and urged them to help specify dates for holding the delayed elections to the Wolesi Jirga or lower house.
The president was talking to ERC members who called on him at the Presidential Place here, a statement from the palace said.
Second Vice-President Sarwar Danish and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Abdullah Abdullah also attended the meeting in which the ERC members briefed President Ghani about their work and challenges they faced.
Acknowledging the panel’s effort, the president said the commission had reached out to important issues in the electoral system in a short time and the effort would strengthen the country’s democratic system.
The president assured the ERC members of his complete support and sthe commission’s task had not yet ended and it would continue contributing to the electoral system’s reformation.
He urged the commission to help the government announce dates for Wolesi Jirga elections and restore people’s confidence in elections. He said the panel should help find answers to people’s questions.
CEO Abdullah said the ERC would continue its job until its suggestions were implemented in a true manner.
Shah Sultan Akefi, the panel’s chief, said they visited provinces where they noted people’s proposals and compiled them in more than 200 pages.
Some of the major suggestions call for 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 stress distribution of the computerised Identity cards, giving a 25 percent representation to women in provincial and district councils and invaliding the current voter cards.
Tadamichi Yamamoto, who represents the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) in the panel, said the implementation of ERC’s suggestions would help strengthen democracy in Afghanistan and reform the electoral system.
The Afghan constitution says the Wolesi Jirga elections must be held between April 23 and May 23. Article 83 stipulates that the vote must take place 30 to 60 days before June 22, 2015, the very day the new MPs must meet for their inaugural session.
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