Election watchdogs shocked by Wolesi Jirga decision
KABUL (Pajhwok): Election observers say they are concerned about the rejection of a presidential decree on the Electoral Reform Commission’s suggestions by the Wolesi Jirga, asking the government to find any other viable solution to the complex situation.
Mohammad Yousuf Rashid, the Free Fair Election Foundation of Afghanistan (FEFA) chief, told Pajhwok Afghan News they were shocked by the lower house’s decision.
With the passage of time, he said, holding Wolesi Jirga and district council elections were becoming more difficult while the government and the lower house did not work pave the ground for the ballots.
Jan Dad Spinghar, Afghanistan Civil Society Election Network (ACSEN) head, said the Wolesi Jirga’s decision was against the exceptions of civil society and the international community.
He said the parliament’s decision had further complicated the conduct of elections under the legal framework.
He said if the government ignored the lawmakers’ decision, it would hurt the importance of the Wolesi Jirga and if accepted the decision, the entire process would become more complex.
On Monday, the Wolesi Jirga rejected the presidential decree regarding suggestions of the Electoral Reform Commission (ERC).
President Ashraf Ghani has decreed seven suggestions of the ERC and called for urgent measures to provide legal cover to the proposals aimed at reforming the electoral system.
The proposals include registration of voters, making the election bodies accountable and the presence of two foreigners on the Independent Election Complaints Commission (IECC).
Also, the panel had suggested the reservation of one Wolesi Jirga seat for the Hindu minority and identification and shrinking of constituencies.
Other proposals are distribution of computerised identity cards, 25 percent representation for women on provincial and district councils and invalidation of the current voter cards.
Lawmaker Abdul Qadir Zazai Watandost asked the house to revoke the decree because the election laws approved by the house and endorsed by the president were already in force.
In line with Article 14 of the election law, if there is a need for amendments, the issue should be referred to the Independent Election Commission (IEC).
Another legislator, Abdul Rahim Ayubi, told the government to exercise legal options for amending laws and the system. Of the 134 members present during the session, 132 voted against the decree.
Earlier, the MPs had said the existing election laws were irrevocable pending a house decision on ERC suggestions. Any decision of the selection committee would have no legal force in the presence of the current election laws, they argued.
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