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ERC working to define electoral offenses: Akefi

ERC working to define electoral offenses: Akefi

Nov 18, 2015 - 18:32

KABULinfo-icon (Pajhwok): Calling the separation of small violations from big electoral crimes an important issue, the Electoral Reform Commission (ERC) on Wednesday said such offenders would be punished after their crimes were identified.

ERC chief Shah Sultan Akefi told a seminar “Electoral Reform” in Kabul that the ERC was working together with judicial organs and attorneys to set new criminal rules and drafts for transparency and prevention of violations in the electoral process.

The seminar was participated by a number of members of parliament and election observers.

With the creation of new criminal rules, electoral criminals would be investigated and punished, he said, adding that people had always complained about violations and fraud in the previous elections, but none of the criminals could be brought to justice.

“Apparently there was no definition for electoral crimes in Afghanistaninfo-icon laws, therefore no violators got punished,” he said.

Akefi also discussed some other elections related issues and called the absence of voter lists the main source of electoral fraud.

He said declaring academic requirements as a condition for Wolesi Jirgainfo-icon members, the president and his deputies was important according to experts, politicians, ulemainfo-icon and other intellectuals.

In the current Afghanistan law defines no academic requirement for the president, his deputies and lawmakers.

But Akefi said some other experts believed there was no need for educationinfo-icon qualification of a president or lawmakers, an issue he said was under discussion.

However, he said seven elections were required under the five-year term of a president, with each costing $150 million.

“This amount of cost for an election in a country like Afghanistan is too much, a way should be found to cut the cost,” Akefi said.

He said the right to vote for Afghan refugees was another important issue the ERC had to deal with. Afghan refugees abroad should be facilitated to vote in their country’s elections in future, he added.

“It is impossible for the Afghan government to ensure security across the country in one year, therefore we suggest that the elections to Wolesi Jirga should be conducted on zonal level and at different times,” he said.

But Akefi added elections on zonal level would also have problems because a complete list of voters was not available.

“If the elections to Wolesi Jirga are conducted on zonal level, the security for the process could be improved as well as transparency and overseeing could be better observed,” he said.


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