Senators demand parliamentary election schedule
KABUL (Pajhwok): Some Meshrano Jirga or upper house of parliament members on Sunday insisted on the announcement of parliamentary election schedule and asked the proposed selection commission to commence its work as soon as possible.
Senator Gul Ahmad Azami told today’s session that the delay in holding the elections was tantamount to killing democracy.
He said not conducting elections made people hopeless and if the process was not accelerated, there would be more problems in the country.
Another legislator Gul Mohammad Rassouli said the Wolesi Jirga was continuing its work against the law due to the delay in holding parliamentary elections.
He said the Senate lacked one-thirds members who should come from district councils.
He criticised the selection committee, a proposed body tasked with selecting commissioners on the electoral bodies, saying the committee was yet to start its work.
The Electoral Reform Commission (ERC) was formed on July 21 in compliance with a presidential decree. The commission collected public views regarding electoral reforms after a month-long hard work and compiled the suggestions in ten articles before submitting them to the government.
Some of the major suggestions include registration of voters, making the election bodies accountable, the presence of two foreigners on 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.
Earlier, President Ashraf Ghani decreed seven suggestions of the ERC and called for urgent measures to provide legal cover for the proposals approved.
Following month-long discussions with different segments of society, the electoral reform commission submitted its first set of suggestions last week to the president.
In his decree, President Ghani praised the performance of the panel, and approved their suggestions for short-term reforms, a statement from the Presidential Palace had said.
In the decree, the president directed the reform panel to scrutinise all the legal, technical and practical aspects of their suggestions and present their detailed proposals to the chief executive’s office (CEO).
Deputy Senate Chairman Mohammad Alam Ezedyar said the government was responsible to facilitate the conduct of parliamentary and district council elections because the long delayed ballots had concerned people about the country’s future.
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